Peanut Butter and Sugar Free Grape Jelly.
I don’t like pinball games.
I find the activity of watching a shiny little ball bounce around in an enclosed space to be of limited entertainment value.
However, when I heard that Rollers of the Realm was a “Pinball RPG” of all things, it piqued my interest because as an avid RPG fan, I wanted to see how they would mesh two completely different genres into one game.
The answer, it turns out, is “adequately.”
Platforms: PC, PS4/PSV(Cross-buy)
Multiplayer: Online leaderboards.
Demo Availability: N/A
Played: 3-4 hours.
Given the simplistic nature of pinball games, it’s no surprise that the various main characters are represented as balls.
Balls of different sizes with special abilities and functions.
For example, the knight is a hulking metal ball that feels bulky but is excellent for dealing damage to enemies.
There’s a healer, farm hand, thief and many more with their own special abilities and equipment, which can be bought with gold earned on the tables.
The RPG element is mostly left to the progression of the characters, as the equipment and items bought can drastically improve the ball’s functions. Also, many upgrades are locked behind the progression of party levels, which increases over time as the player earns experience playing through the tables.
There’s a great number of tables which are played through as the “story” progresses. I put the quotations on the story part because it would be best to curb your expectations if you’re looking for a compelling narrative.
It’s fully voiced for what little dialogue there is, but I wasn’t entirely impressed by the quality of the voice-overs or the artwork that represents the characters, but it is an indie game so I suppose that’s to be expected.
As for the game play… well, it’s a pinball game.
You launch a ball, try to use your flippers to hit things which are oftentimes enemies, and try to rack up as much gold and experience as possible before moving on to the next table.
The only big difference is the ability to switch between ball types by holding the ball on the main flipper, which adds a slight strategy element.
There are a few tables with some interesting gimmicks to change up the repetitive nature of the game play, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to see this game to its end.
Lastly, I ran into some technical issues where the game would continuously loop its startup when launched from Steam and never actually play. Even after the latest patch, I continued to encounter this issue, and it’s unclear to me why it happened.
Rollers of the Realm oversells its limited RPG element quite a bit in advertisement, and perhaps that was smart, because it managed to pique my interest enough to give it a try.
While it’s not nearly enough to turn around someone like me who actively dislikes the genre, but it’s an admirable attempt at combining two wildly different genres.
Fun Tidbit: I think I died and failed on some of these tables more times than I ever did in any boss or area in a Souls game. I’m terrible at pinball games.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.