Roller Champions Hands-On Impressions

June 12, 2019

We got our roller-skates on for a pre-alpha Roller Champions hands-on last night which is currently free on PC via Uplay for the duration of the E3 2019 expo. Roller Champions was revealed at the E3 2019 Ubisoft Press Conference after rumours were circulating that they had been working on a possible competitor to the fast paced vehicular soccer game Rocket League. On the topic of Rocket League, the Radical Summer event also just begun last night. Read more about what’s involved in the summer festivities here.

After a quick install, the main menu selections were mostly locked so we went straight in to playing the game. There’s a quick tutorial which explains how to tackle, how to build speed, jump, and shoot. The pre-alpha Roller Champions hands-on doesn’t look anywhere near as good as the gameplay trailer shown at E3 2019 (see below), so we’re hoping Ubisoft will give the graphics a bit of a boost before its proper launch. The demo provides 3v3 matches which last for 10 minutes or 5 points, whichever comes first. The basic gameplan is similar to the sport of Roller Derby where players travel in a counter-clockwise direction around a circuit, only in Roller Champions you have a ball that you can pass to your teammates. If you have the ball then you become Public Enemy #1 and your team mates can either support you or try to get some distance and call for a pass.

There’s a bit of teamwork involved in Roller Champions. To perform a successful pass, there needs to be a request from a teammate and then the person with the ball needs to throw it in that key moment otherwise the ball can get thrown randomly ahead. Completing one lap and scoring gets 1 point, 2 laps and scoring gets 3 points, while 3 laps and scoring gets 5 points and wins the match. This of course means that even if the score is 0-4, you can still do a quick three laps and score to¬† win.

We played the pre-alpha Roller Champions hands-on with an Xbox One controller, and you’ll probably want to do the same or at least use something with an analogue stick because directions really matter, particularly when tackling. Lining up the enemies as you skate up the walls and back down again can be a bit tricky at first, and we found there were considerable differences in pace between players that knew how to gain momentum and those simply holding the movement button. The tackles were funny, and you can take out the whole enemy team in one hit if they are bunched together. Due to the directional aspect of the game with the opposing team coming from the front and rear and also from above that it was nearly impossible to keep track of where everyone was, so getting tackled was commonplace even when we didn’t have the ball.

It will be interesting to see how Roller Champions evolves as it gets closer to its launch next year. We found the jump button to be almost useless and nothing like what we were expecting. Perhaps a double jump will be implemented, or building up for a super jump because right now it did nothing but slow momentum. Other than that, the game was enjoyable. Each game, win or lose you acquire fans (similar to The Crew 2) and the more fans you have the more cosmetic items and arenas you unlock. It looks like this is sort of a way to casually rank people up as well, though we suspect Ubisoft has a proper ranking system in the works as they look to enter Roller Champions into esports tournaments if it becomes popular.

Check out the official Roller Champions gameplay trailer below:

Roller Champions is a free-to-play, skill based, team PvP sports game. Feel the thrill of competition as you skate around a packed arena of fans, tackling your opponents, and dodging them at just the right time to make as many laps as possible. Score points with throwing the ball through the goal and claim victory!

Roller Champions is still in it’s pre-alpha stages so everything can be touch and go. It is expected to launch in early 2020 on Windows PC via Uplay, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and potentially on Google Stadia and the Nintendo Switch as well. For more information head to the official Roller Champions website.