Roller Champions will be available for free on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox starting May 25. A new sports title that we have already been able to test and, although we still have many hours ahead of us for analysis, we can tell you that it is worth trying.
I could lace up my skates, put on my mouthguard, and start playing Roller Champions a little bit before it was released. Ubisoft’s new free-to-play finally arrives after more than three years of development. We were able to test it for the first time at E3 2019, and since then, the company has opened different testing phases to support the community in the face of a final polish that it needed, like eating. A winding road that finally ends on May 25 with a premiere for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.
Roller Champions is a free-to-play game that is worth it.
The market is full of free games on which we can spend endless hours—a wide range of competitive titles such as League of Legends, Rocket League, or PUBG. The way the video game industry is right now, not even a free-to-play release is a guarantee that players will try the title. It would help if you gave people an excellent reason to leave their mainstream games and decide to try something new. However, after a few hours of Roller Champions, I have already warned my usual teammates who fail in qualifying games to have the game ready for Wednesday when I leave work.
Roller Champions is not a typical game that offers us great moments of fantasy acting alone. What’s new from Ubisoft is, first and foremost, a team sport that aims to be much more serious than its main competitors. Taking references from Roller, basketball, and American football, The objective of the title is to cooperate to go around an oval track and try to score points. There are short seven-minute games in which the first to reach five wins or the one who leads the score once the clock has reached zero and the last possession ends.
There are risk and reward mechanics since we score more points the more laps we make in the oval, being able to win the game with a single play. Something that also helps maintain tension. We can play a great game and lead by four goals, but if we get lost at the end and allow our rivals to complete several laps, they will come back. An exciting adaptation of sports concepts such as the Hail Mary of American football fulfills its mission of generating constant intensity during confrontations.
The collective over the individual, the “problem” of Roller Champions
The thing that makes Roller Champions different and exciting is the aspect that concerns me the most. We will go deeper into this situation during the analysis, but there are two related problems. The mechanics are not too deep and offer very few moments of individual satisfaction. Everything in Roller Champions matches happens as a team, so there isn’t much room for fantasy. We hardly have to control feints, passes, shots and speed. They are significant variables that give rise to many different plays, but that is always put at the group’s service.
Compared to Rocket League, Roller Champions give more weight to collective performance. However, it does not introduce that moment in which we finish off a ball after throwing it to the crossbar and jumping, giving more turns in the air than we are capable of counting. A spectacular moment so demanded in the culture of TikTok that makes us continue playing is missing. The one that justifies putting more than 800 hours into a football title with cars or the one that encourages us to play another game of League of Legends. The move we always chase and only get on a few occasions.
The intention is to make up for this lack with a perfect team game. Do the dirty work of tackling our runner’s pursuers or unmark ourselves by pushing our teammates to double the speed of rivals, receive a free pass and shoot at will. The only thing that scares me about Roller Champions is that the lack of individual brilliance items will hold me back once I’ve played enough hours. However, I’m sure that I’ve been having fun playing its casual game modes, birding around the Skate Park to pull off a few tricks, or burning down the ranked matches.