Review: Rollers of The Realm (PlayStation Vita)

Rollers of The Realm: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation Vita 1,798 view 1 like 2 comments
Reviewed by Austin Trujillo, posted Dec 11, 2014
Dec 11, 2014
  • Release Date (NA): November 18, 2014
  • Release Date (EU): November 18, 2014
  • Publisher: Atlus
  • Developer: Phantom Compass
  • Genres: Pinball, RPG
  • ESRB Rating: Everyone
  • PEGI Rating: Seven years and older
  • Also For: PlayStation 4
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
RPG, Pinball, adventure. Those were the first words I had read when I was taking a first look at Rollers of the Realm, and I immediately had to know more about the game. Find out what my impressions were for this quirky mashup of genres below!
Austin Trujillo

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Gameplay and Key Elements

You play as a young rogue (with no name apparently), on a mission to take rescue her dog that ran away for some reason. You’ll team up with various allies in order to fight the evil baron that is rampaging on the land, and take back some loot while you’re at it. The story itself is really fluffy, and only serves to move gameplay along. There’s no real character development or investment, and it immediately makes the characters and setting forgettable.

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There are multiple classes of characters that can be played with, including the Rogue, Knight, Healer, Hunter, and more. The problem with these classes however, is they do not really add much variety to the game, minus some neat little effects that don’t really serve to help you much. You can play through a majority of the game with just the Healer, Rogue, and Knight class.

The way the game works, is as follows. You progress through areas typically by killing enemies with whatever ball you decide to use (character). You bounce the balls off the enemies in order to kill them, and will rack up score, experience, and mana, by keeping a high score multiplier and bouncing off multiple enemies. The enemies remain static throughout most of the game, with the only real threats being archer characters, which can shoot at your pinball paddles, and damage them. If the paddles are damaged enough, they can be destroyed.

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However, there never really seems to be any danger of losing the game, so long as your healer is around to constantly use mana to heal the paddles, or restore an extra life you if you lose a ball, by consuming the entire mana bar.

By the time you reach the max 10 characters, you will have a constant 10 balls at your disposal, essentially eliminating any risk of losing an area. Should you happen to however, you will lose all progress you have made through traversing a level, and have to start the entire mission over again. Quite honestly, this felt rather cheap the first time it happened to me, and the only reason it happened was because the camera was panned so far to the left, an enemy bomber blew up a bridge I didn't even see on the right which instantly ended the mission. Camera control was rather painful throughout the game, with the screen either being entirely too far out to focus on the ball on the Vita's screen, or being zoomed in so far, you cannot even see other enemies that can be crucial to preventing from performing game ending actions. 

Gold acts much like a score in this game, as there is no actual score being kept as you play. This is something that bothered me as a lover of pinball, and the amount of gold I was receiving was not enough to satiate my hunger for a super high score.

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Progression is also based on timing and precise pinballing expertise. You will have to time how and where you hit the ball in order to make it through tight gaps and jumps to reach the next area, or you will have to take out enemies in objective based missions before they manage to cause instant losses.

The gameplay itself is perfect for a pinball game, with the physics and overall feel giving a wonderful pinball atmosphere. But after adding in all the other RPG elements, taking away any form of score, and adding in non-threatening AI, the game falls rather short. The enemies are nothing dangerous like in other pinball games, such as Metroid Prime Pinball. While the AI in Metroid Prime Pinball could constantly deal damage, mess with the pattern of your ball, and combat your abilities, the AI in Rollers will simply stand there and grunt as you chip away at their health bar. I found the whole process tedious, and grew tired of it after a few minutes, something I did not want from a pick up and play kind of title.

The money system in the game is a standard shop experience as well, with gold allowing you to purchase consumable items and equips that don’t really add much to the experience. The added equipment only allows you to deal a little more damage than you could before, and adds to cosmetic changes to the pinball either, which means you essentially purchased a small buff.

The only other mode the game offers, the Arena mode, is just recycled freeplay tables from the initial campaign, with no added difficulty or missions. Essentially it’s a way to replay some tables and buff your characters more if you feel you aren’t strong enough to progress. 

Verdict
Pros
+ Cute visuals
+ Decent pinball physics
Cons
- Terrible progression
- Lack of engaging plot
- Bad camera
- Boring AI
- Repetitive level design
5 Presentation
The game kind of tricks you at first in presenting itself as a neat RPG/Pinball experience, only to throw repetitive gameplay and enemy tables in your face later on.
6 Gameplay
For Pinball physics, the game is not terrible, which is the only reason I am willing to give it a 6. Otherwise, the rest of the gameplay is too repetitive and boring to keep anyone engaged for more than a few minutes.
5 Lasting Appeal
Rollers really doesnt have a lasting grip on you, which is terrible for a game of the pinball genre. I found myself wanting to play other pinball games after spending a few minutes with Rollers, as the whole experience felt empty.
5
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
All in all, the game is a rather lackluster pinball game, and I couldn't bring myself to really care about any of the game-play decisions I was making. Without scoring, leader-boards, or any decent character development, it takes the two elements of Pinball and RPG game-play, and sucks the life out of both of them.
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