Developed and Published By: Early Melon
Category: Platform Fighter
Release Date: 10.16.2019
What makes a great party game is accessibility. Party games keep things simple so anyone can pick up and play without too much of an explanation. Although not marketed strictly as a party game, Roof Rage has the foundation for one due to its uncomplicated gameplay. There are combos, different play styles, and a variety of gorgeous stages, but Roof Rage shines in its simplicity. Because of the pick up and play nature of the game, it’s a wonderful addition to a handheld console like Switch.
Roof Rage offers a basic set of ways to play including arcade, local, and online modes which, in keeping with the theme of the game, are simple and nothing you haven’t seen before. That’s not to say they’re lacking, rather the game keeps to a formula of quick, platform fighting not totally unlike the Smash Bros series, albeit much less sophisticated. The game’s charm is in its 8bit, sprite characters, and classic fighting game music.
I never had the chance to play a co-op or local match, nor online as the mode wasn’t ready with my copy, but what I did play leads me to believe not much would change in terms of gameplay. That said, I can only comment on the arcade mode. Again, I’m repeating myself, but the single-player mode is uncomplicated. From the outset, you’re thrown into battle with a health meter and two lives. The rest is up to you.
There are 13 characters, each of which inhabits classic fighting game stereotypes. You have a samurai, a boxer, a ninja woman, a guy with a long stick. The only exception is a character called Lionel, who I’m convinced was inspired by Leon: The Professional with his iconic glasses, beanie, and five o’clock shadow. Each has its own movesets and series of combos which you can reference at any time from the lists available from the menu. During matches, they’re no more than little sprites, but the animations are smooth and colors pop even amidst the chaos of battle.
The game controls well despite the slight learning curve. There’s no introduction or tutorial, so expect to take a few losses before you get your bearings. Still, you can achieve enough without studying combos. Gameplay revolves around a few actions, particularly jumping, which is essential to surviving on any of the games 13 stages. All of them contain rooftops in beautifully rendered locals. Roof Rage achieves a lot with its minimalist style of graphics. It’s a pleasure to watch as well as play.
In keeping with the nostalgia established by the visuals and gameplay, the game’s soundtrack also beckons to earlier fighting games. There’s a lot of funky and rock-themed music that brings me back to early Street Fighter days. Roof Rage borrows a lot from previous classics, yet does so while remaining original. Although it reminds me of games I played as a kid, it’s still a new experience. It reuses old ideas and simplifies them with a fresh coat of paint.
At times, maybe, it’s too simple. My playtimes never extended an hour, but I never played with others. With a group of friends, online or local, I can imagine how much fun it must be. But without people to spar with, it may not be worth it. There just wasn’t a lot to do by myself. This is where Roof Rage lends itself well to mobile play. It’s great if you have a few minutes to kill for a quick sesh. Otherwise, it’s best for a party. The simple controls, colorful graphics, and catchy soundtrack of Roof Rage is a great way to settle blood feuds with friends.