Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball Review (PC)
The most impressive thing about Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball is its unique sense of style. Pulsating lights and a heavy electronic beat play overhead as you go head to head with several other robots in a game of dodgeball. If it sounds weird, that’s because it is. Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball is funky, and it’s only because of how well the game knows itself is it such a success.
Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball (RRDDD) runs on a physics engine that seems to have few limitations. You play as a robot rolling on a pair of wheels, so momentum is the most important aspect of the gameplay. The robots can stop on a dime, but slowing down otherwise isn’t an easy thing to do — which can lead to some funny moments, but ultimately gives you less control. Just as you would expect, the core mechanics come down to throwing and catching the dodgeball. Other than the exaggerated momentum, the game controls pretty fluidly, and a simple left-click is all you need to do to master the throw and catch mechanism.
RRDDD plays more like a first-person arena-styled shooter than it does anything else. It takes a surprising amount of skill to “eliminate” an opposing player, especially when you consider the fast pace of the game. Despite the simple controls, the game has a significant learning curve. Learning to throw trick shots (which involve things like throwing at the top of a jump or chucking the ball off of a wall) becomes pivotal the deeper you dive into multiplayer.
Above all else, the game is fun to play. The maps are symmetric and games are almost always close right up until the end. There is almost never a lack of action, given that there are a dozen or more dodgeballs thrown into the arena all at once. The off-ball action can be just as fun, however. Making the split-second decision to make an attempt at a dodge or a catch is surprisingly invigorating, and there are power-ups scattered throughout the maps that give significant boosts. RRDDD’s gameplay is insane in all of the right ways.
The game is ultimately about the multiplayer experience - and if you can’t see yourself getting a game solely because of its multiplayer, than RRDDD almost certainly isn’t for you. That said, the game does have a single player mode, which is nice, if only because it helps prepare you for the brutal nature of its online mode. AI bots provide a really nice challenge, especially if you crank up the difficulty. On hard, you’ll have a difficult time differentiating the bots from human challengers online. There’s also an “Arcade” mode which has several different waves and levels that throw an increasing amount of AI bots your way. As you make your way through the mode, you gain currency to purchase power-ups that will give you a fighting chance. It isn’t as deep as it could have been, but it provides a nice distraction if you’re ever looking for it.
The multiplayer itself is surprisingly deep. A leaderboard with thousands of players already on it provides nice incentive to keep grinding your way upwards. As you level up, you unlock a dozen or so character customization items — all ascetic in nature, but perfectly in tune with the game’s approach. Ultimately, the game will have to do more to hook players into throwing time into it, but there’s a nice amount of content to keep you busy for a dozen hours or so. There are several different game-types, including a basketball styled experience called "Hoops" that is even more up-tempo that its default game-type (called "Elimination") which calls on you to eliminate opposing players by hurling the ball at them.
RRDDD runs on user-hosted servers, but that hasn’t led to any lag or crashes. The better you get at the game, the more you’ll notice the small instances that would have been better handled on dedicated servers — but given how smoothly the game runs anyway, and how quickly you can find matches, there’s not a lot to complain about. In comparison to other recent releases, RRDDD’s multiplayer shines as being a consistent and smooth experience.
There is little reason to believe that Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball won’t be a cult hit amongst fans of both the sports and first-person shooter genre. It’s engaging style is enough to catch the eye, and its gameplay is fun enough to let it linger. Outside of the game being a tad shallow on the customization front, there’s not a lot of fault to be found in RRDDD. If there is, its distinct visual flair and lively gameplay will be sure to keep you from noticing.
Pros: Exciting gameplay; Unique visual style; Strong online experience; Suitable AI
Cons: Not many reasons to keep playing after the novelty wears off.
Learning Curve - Easy to learn, hard to master.
Control Scheme - Simple, yet a tendency to feel a bit unresponsive due to the physics engine.
Visuals - Outlandish and fun.
Audio - A heavy electronic thump that is sure to keep you upbeat even when little is going on.
Replay value - Not much when alone, but multiplayer is enough to keep busy for a dozen hours or more.