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The joy of Rollerdrome’s practical weapons

Rollerdrome only has four weapons but they're all awesome

Third person skater shooter Rollerdrome has some really cool weapons, but what is it that makes them so special? I mean, there’s only four of them, and you’re forced to constantly perform tricks to regain ammo, which doesn't make them easy to use. I think it’s because of their more literal significance in the game. Rollerdrome threatens you with multiple enemy types called Houseplayers, all formidable, especially in the heat of battle when they combine their efforts. Luckily, the four distinct weapons you’re equipped with act as an equaliser; each weapon is a solution for a particular enemy. Developers Roll7 could have easily added a bunch of copied and pasted guns from every generic shooter, but instead they were more intentional about the weapons they included, with each weapon complimenting the gunplay and the game as a whole.

We start Rollerdrome's tournament with dual pistols, which are flashy and work well with the cinematic potential of reflex time, the game’s instant slow-mo mode. Later we’re gifted a shotgun, powerful and trustworthy; the shotgun can dispatch all enemies, even stronger types, with a well-timed slug shot. After that, a grenade launcher transported me smoothly back to my noobtoobing days in Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Finally we get the almighty z-11, a long-range laser that feels like your typical god-tier weapon you receive towards the end of a game.

Personally, I couldn’t wait to be rid of the dual pistols. As stylish as they were, I just didn’t have the patience for their lack of stopping power, whereas the shotgun had this classic feel of finality that seduced me from our first interaction. It allowed me to switch my mentality from being hunted, barely dispatching enemies as I scrambled for health, to the hunter. A well timed shot in reflex mode, and boom! All of a sudden I had become the Doom Slayer. If you can’t tell, the shotgun was my favourite, and if it wasn’t your favourite it's probably because you couldn’t get the slug shot in time (though the accessibility settings mean any and all plays can experience the joys of pulling off a timed shot).

While it’s all well and good having favourites, Rollerdrome isn’t exactly co-operative. In order to improve your quality of life, you’ll likely have to discard your fave at a moment’s notice in exchange for a weapon more appropriate for the situation. While creativity is encouraged, practically is paramount, and as such the more powerful weapons exhaust more quickly and need multiple, more impressive tricks to operate. Despite my complaints I loved this flexibility - and in this context the pistols weren’t that bad, making up for their shortcomings with their effortless combo multiplier. Besides, I knew that if things did get too hot… ch-chick BOOM!

A woman in a red jump suit dodges a blue laser while firing in midair in Rollerdrome

Relying on one weapon completely would be ludicrous (as well as more than a little impressive), which is the exactly the sort of thing I could see pro gamers doing on YouTube: ROLLERDROME PERFECT RUN S RANK (Pistols only).This potential audacity tantalises me, and would tantalise others. All of these impossibilities become possible once you’re initiated. Truly mastering Rollerdrome’s arsenal allows you to play the game in ways you hadn’t imagined, trying out new tricks to perfect your score. Why not try to replay a stage with your weapon of choice? How far can you take each weapon? Well, that depends on the skater…

Just as you’ll find that the enemy types balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses, Rollerdrome’s weapons map out a path to victory by evening the playing field. Each weapon boasts a unique style which is beneficial enough to become any player’s favourite. The joy of Rollerdrome’s weapons’ diversity lies in the intentional ways they were constructed. It's is a rarity considering the current climate of shooters, which usually boast a number of guns that do the exact same thing. Rollerdrome sets itself apart.

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