Review: Rollers of the Realm (PS4)

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Title: Rollers of the Realm
Format: PlayStation Network Download (531 MB)
Release Date: November 18, 2014
Publisher: Atlus U.S.A. Inc.
Developer: Phantom Compass
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: T
Rollers of the Realm is also available on PlayStation Vita and PC. This is a Cross-Buy title.
The PlayStation 4 version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

When I heard about Rollers of the Realm I was really interested in trying it out because I thoroughly enjoy pinball and combining it with RPG elements sounded like a good idea.

Gameplay:
Rollers of the Realm is an RPG played using the mechanics of pinball to advance your quest. The different characters of your party are represented by different pinball balls. As you progress through the game you add more people to your party and you can also purchase additional characters as you progress. Each of these characters has different strengths and weaknesses as well as unique special abilities. Some of these special abilities are passive in nature while others will require you to activate them. For example one character may passively heal your flippers while actively being able to revive a dead character.

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Each character does feel different and plays differently and you can definitely feel the weight of the heavier balls while playing. Having said that, I found myself using only a few of the characters and only deviated from them when absolutely required. Characters “die” when their ball falls through the drain on a table and when all the characters die the level is over. You can buy equipment to aid your characters in their quest that can increase their attack or give a bonus for collecting gold or mana. While they do help it is not a very deep system.

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Each level of the game is represented by a table that you need to meet a specific requirement to pass. These are along the lines of collecting enough gold or defeating a certain enemy. You can collect gold to purchase items in between levels or mana to charge your characters special abilities. Additionally enemies will show up on some levels and will walk to a certain point and wait for you to defeat them. Every once in a while you will encounter a level where the enemies will continue to progress across the level and you must stop them in order to advance. Some enemies have weaknesses that can be exploited by your character’s special abilities. Some levels are simple while others involve secret passages or multiple levels. Besides the flippers you can control the ball slightly with the touch pad on the DualShock 4 by swiping left or right.

The levels for the most part are very sparse and devoid of action, they are throwbacks to early days of pinball. But since there is little score chase and the tables don’t feel like a pinball game, the lack of action doesn’t feel right. The lack of action also hurts the RPG aspect of the game as well.

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Visuals:
The game has a nice hand drawn look to it. The lighting and shadows on some levels look really great. The visuals are easily the best part of the game. The drawback of having such great visuals is that when there is no action or few things in the environment it really stands out.

Audio:
The characters are all voiced in the cut scenes and in each level. The voice actors do a decent job of giving life to the various characters but nothing really stands out as making the game great.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only and does not feature any online or multiplayer components.

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Conclusion:
I really wanted to like this game, I love pinball and I am rediscovering my long lost love of RPGs. However this is a game that ruins the elements of both of those genres and creates a terrible mess. Instead of each ingredient adding to the overall flavor of the final product it subtracted from it. Instead of peanut butter and chocolate we got tuna fish and jello.

The game has very plain and empty pinball tables that don’t vary too much from one another. People who love pinball games will be disappointed. The RPG elements of the game are nice but aren’t compelling enough to really change up the characters you use the most. It feels like the game could have gotten by with fewer main characters and only added others when you really needed their ability and not lost anything.

Score:
5.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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  • ChazzH69

    Such a shame, well if anyone in the UK wants to grab it regardless of the score. It’s on offer at the moment. Only £4 – https://store.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com/#!/en-gb/games/rollers-of-the-realm/cid=EP0005-CUSA01209_00-ROLLERSCROSSBUY0

  • London Rhodes

    Personally I really liked this game. Probably because I don’t really enjoy pinball. This Rollers of the Realm gave me just enough extra incentive to play because of it’s light RPG elements.

    • DB

      Do you find yourself switching between the characters much? I can see that being a hit or miss thing for people. For me it was a miss but it’s nice to see somebody else is enjoying the game.

      Regardless of my opinion of it I’m glad that you are enjoying it. The most important thing while playing a game is how much you are having fun playing it.

      • London Rhodes

        I liked using the Knight to “fight” guys. I used the Rogue when I needed to move to an exact place on the board and of course the healer….heals lol.

        I also agree with you everyone has different taste. If we all liked the exact same things life would be pretty boring.

        • DB

          Well London I am glad you are enjoying it, and let your friends know that it is currently part of the Indie Sale and is only $4 this weekend.

  • I was really hoping this game was gonna be better

  • DB

    If anybody in the US wants to try it out and see if they like it more than I did, it is currently part of the Indie Flash Sale for only $4 this weekend

    • J.D. Dabbs

      I picked it up in the Flash, but I’m playing it on the Vita. It’s actually not a bad game for the portable. It has enough depth to keep you interested for a while, yet you can kind of play a round and be done if you wish. I haven’t gotten very far into it, yet, but it is an intriguing little game well worth the Flash price to me. It reminds me of Creep Night pinball back in the old days of PC.