As I get older, I come to appreciate arcade-style games a lot more. Sure, there's nothing like a good, big-budget AAA game that takes months to complete. But honestly, I find myself having less and less time to be able to invest in those types of games. Sometimes I only have a couple hours to put into a game on any given night, and I'd rather not spend them watching an opening cut-scene or going through a lengthy tutorial. Sometimes I just wanna spend my time just chilling and playing an arcade game. And if you ever feel the way I do, you may want to give Rooftop Renegade a look.
Rooftop Renegade doesn't give us much of a backstory; and it really doesn't need one. You play as Svetiana, who has the ability to travel through time. She is constantly being chased by the evil corporation Globacorp, and she must gather time crystals in order to warp away from them. That's pretty much it. We don't know why Globocorp is evil, why they're pursuing Svetiana, or how she gained her time-traveling powers. But like I said; it's an arcade game – that's all the info we need. I mean, do games like Pitfall! And Pac-Man need a back story? Of course not - you just jump in and start having fun!
Rooftop Renegade is a 2D game, where you race from left to right in order to beat the level. Svetiana roller-blades and grinds her way to the end of the level, all while being chased by agents from Globocorp. Each level is not just on a single plane; you'll be grinding on rails to higher platforms and dropping down to lower ones as you make your way across each level. You'll need some quick reflexes, as not only do you need to outrun Globocorp, but also avoid traps that slow you down. Once you reach the end of the level, you zip through your warp portal and the level ends.
As you traverse each state, you collect time shards in order to increase your score. At the end of each level, you are graded on how many shards you collected and how quickly you were able to complete the stage. The better you do, the more you level up, unlock new abilities, and unlock new stages. Some of these abilities include a dash, high-jump, slide, and the ability to pass through hazards without slowing down. You'll want to find the best time to use these though, because each ability needs time to recharge before you can use it again. Once you unlock the different abilities, you can go back to any of the 24 levels to try to beat your high score.
In addition to the main arcade game, there's a multiplayer mode, in which one person plays as Svetiana trying to make it across the level, and the other plays as Globocorp trying to shoot her down. There's also a generator mode, which randomly creates levels for you to try. If you like a level, just jot down the generator code and share it with your friends. You also get tutorials for each ability, so you can get accustomed to them pretty easily
Rooftop Renegade is a smooth game. Svetiana floats along each stage, with no slowdown whatsoever. Unlike most runners where you have no control over the speed of your character, you can slow Svetiana down if you choose (although I wouldn't recommend it).The music also goes well with the game, with a techno vibe that keeps the pace with each level. One other thing I was pleasantly surprised by was the ghost data. I had a 'B' score on one level and wanted to earn that 'S' rank, so I replayed it. Sure enough, there was a glowing outline of my last run, so I had the added benefit of racing against myself. I haven't seen a game do that in ages!
There's a couple things that I would have liked to see, though. First, while the game is fast, I think it could stand to be just a little faster. The game is all about speed, but it seems like this one is safely going the speed limit as opposed to breaking the sound barrier. Also, it's very easy. I never failed a level, and I would prefer to have a few options to make things more challenging. I would have liked to have some control over my abilities. It's just a personal preference, but having no choice on which abilities unlock when you level up kind of takes the “investment” out of it. Finally, this game would have really benefited from online or friend-based leaderboards. With score attack games like this, it's almost criminal that leaderboards aren't included.
Rooftop Renegade is a straightforward arcade game – nothing more, nothing less. You don't have to worry about exploring a huge world, watching hours upon hours of story, or navigating a ridiculously-large skill tree. You jump in, play each level, rinse and repeat. Rooftop Renegade also has the beginnings of an interesting story; I would love to see the developers take this time-traveling, roller-blader-on-the-run-from-an-evil-corporation motif and apply it to an RPG or a 3D collect-a-thon game. Until then, though, you'll find plenty of enjoyment skatin' and grindin' your way across the neon skyline.
Review code provided by publisher