Roller Champions

Platform(s): Android, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, iOS
Genre: Sports
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: May 25, 2022


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PC Preview - 'Roller Champions'

by Redmond Carolipio on July 9, 2019 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Roller Champions is a free-to-play, team-based sports game where players skate, pass, dodge and score in a fan-packed arena.

In some ways, Roller Champions felt like the perfect demo for a show like E3 2019. You can glance at it, think it's cute, pull up to it expecting to goof around with the controls and squeeze in a game. The next thing you know, you're asking the group sitting across from you if they want to run it back one more time. Maybe two more times.

Roller Champions is emerging in 2020, since Ubisoft is balancing out some of the heft in its upcoming lineup by dipping its toes into making a sporty, fun and kinetic alternative that could be a hit at parties or online.

Using some of the principles from roller derby and a touch of the fantasy you might have seen in the sport of motorball from "Alita: Battle Angel," Roller Champions offers a bouncy, cartoonish taste of sports futurism that focuses more on good-natured competitive fun than crushing, hardcore dominance.

You're able to play in a variety of imaginative arenas and tracks, and the rules are simple. You and a few others on the team chase a rolling energy ball around a track. One you snag it, you have to make it a couple of laps around to activate the goal, which is sort of like a sideways hoop located on the side of the track.

When it's on, once you roll toward it, you can aim the ball and try to score, not unlike basketball or soccer. Here's a kicker: the more laps you take while possessing the ball can increase the value of your goal. If you make it around the track a bunch of times and then score, you can end a match to five points in one shot.

Obviously, there's another team on the track trying to do the same thing, so good games can become whirling duels of passing, extremely satisfying high-speed forearm shivers and some creative goal-scoring. By the end of our five-game run in the media room, everyone was reacting to each play as if we were a few beers in at someone's apartment.

One thing we didn't see in the demo that will be part of the game is the concept of your fanbase. As you build your Roller Champion career (with a customizable avatar, of course), you start small and gain fans the more you win. The more fans you get, the more you can tweak and add to your champion. As Ubisoft told us, your fans basically function as the XP for your experience.

I can see Roller Champions ranging from fun distraction to all-out vocation, depending on who picks it up. No matter the intensity, it'll be nice to have it out there next year.

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