GAME NAME: Rollers of the Realm
DEVELOPER(S): Phantom Compass
PLATFORM(S): PC (Reviewed), Vita, PS4
RELEASE DATE(S): November 18, 2014
Lately it’s been a trend that a lot of developers are meshing genres together and I’m not opposed to that at all. The latest one that I had the opportunity to review is called Rollers of the Realm, developed by Phantom Compass and published by Atlus. Now, if you read my reviews you’ll know that I’m a fan of RPG’s. This game is a pinball/RPG hybrid. I was extremely excited to play this and was curious how Phantom Compass blended these two genres smoothly. I was pleasantly surprised and I had a lot of fun in the process.
In Rollers of the Realm you get to control a band of adventurers just like any ol’ RPG. Now the cool thing is the pinball is what represents your character so if you’re a soldier your pinball is an armored pinball and if you’re a thief your pinball is a cloth pinball and so on and so forth. Each pinball and party member can equip weapons, gear and spells which can be upgraded and you can collect gold to use for purchase equipment and items as well. Some members can heal your parties and some members can repair damage, you know all basic RPG things.
The story starts out with you as a little girl having a single ball and trying to make your way through the kingdom with your faithful dog. There’s a fun intro scene where you have get into the city by using your dog to distract the guards and sneak down the sewers to go under the main wall. This is done through the use of playing pinball, your dog being the pinball of fur and hitting the guards. Once you make it past the kingdom walls you’ll slowly start to meet other citizens that decide to join your party and come with you on your journey for one reason or the other. Once you get to a certain area though you understand that there is evil plot afoot and it’s up to you to remedy it. There are a total of five different levels to travel to each containing a multitude of pinball tables to play, all which have various bonuses.
Like any good ol’ RPG, there are lots of puzzles to navigate as you progress through all the maps. If you’re OCD like me, you’ll sit there for a while and try to unlock everything, I found myself having abundance of fun doing this. Some of the puzzles are easy and some of them are a little harder, it just depends on your problem solving and pinball skills. The gameplay physics feel great. The pinball’s action actually feels like they’re bouncing off specific materials. They also hit the correct angles making it feel like the mechanics are well tuned.
One of the coolest facets of this game is that there is a new nudging mechanic. Instead of nudging the table to move the ball in a direction you can use the analog stick to move the ball left or right to get it moving in the right direction. This is especially helpful if need to make your way down a corridor or through a gate. This game isn’t flawless however there are a couple bugs. I noticed my flippers got stuck once in a while but it happened rarely and it didn’t really detract from the game since it re-corrected itself pretty quickly. The music in Rollers of the Realm is pretty great because it gives that fantasy world vibe and brings you into the world.
Another way to play this game besides the Main Campaign mode is the Arena mode. In this mode you play the levels that you played in the main game however they have new goals and different restrictions. For example, it challenges you to see how much gold you can collect in two minutes or how many waves of enemies you can defeat with only three lives. There are five challenge modes available and your best score can get you added to the leaderboards online. You can earn gold for your main story campaign and your party here however it’s not a one-to-one conversion. Unfortunately, you can’t grind XP in this Arena mode for your main campaign which was a bummer but ultimately I totally get it. They want you to experience the story mode the way it’s intended. Each level is completely replayable and you have the opportunity to earn trophies if you put 10 hours into this game which is easy to do since you’ll get sucked in if you’re made a fan.
The artwork in this game has a great fantasy style. It ranges from dark dungeons to colorful grassy fields, you definitely get a really warm RPG graphical experience. The level environments are also really well done. You don’t get to explore them like you would in a conventional RPG but you see enough of them to appreciate as you roll through the levels. In the areas with extra puzzles, I would intentionally stay there longer just to make sure I unlocked everything and enjoyed the view while I was there.
This game is for anyone who enjoys pinball as well as RPG’s. It’s a unique concept that I’ve never really seen before when it comes to these two genres. Even if you aren’t a fan of either genres it still something worth checking out because it challenges the way you think and you’ll be able to try something new. While the main story campaign goes pretty quickly you’ll have plenty of content and the replay value is high with Arena mode. This is a game I highly recommend checking out, it’s just plain fun and it’s easy for anyone to play.