Who thought there would be so much drama in the roller derby scene? Don’t get on your high horse and quote the Trade Misdescriptions Act as Roller Drama is a very apt title for this… management game?
For once, this game didn’t take me by surprise, as I’ve followed its development with keen eyes, ears and thumbs. It’s the same developer as Football Drama – a game that is super stylish and slick, and so incredibly refreshing that it gives the football scene a good wake-up call for all its absurdity.
As for roller derbys, who knows? It’s not a sport in the mainstream, and it could be argued: why bother? Having played the Roller Drama demo, if we were to exclude the narrative element, it’s as ‘exciting’ as it sounds. No reflection on the development team, but the playable element of running – sorry: skating around a track isn’t great, and if this were the game, it would be on the dismiss pile.
Fortunately, like the predecessor, the best part of the game is everything outside of the actual event. You play as the team’s coach, Joan, and have to manage five very different personalities. We have a bit of a life lesson here as Roller Drama validates that you can’t make everyone happy (including yourself!) all the time. If social interaction isn’t your forte, a good range of parameters in the demo allows you to change the mood, thus making it easier to manage all these egos.
The setup is this: you all live in shared accommodation (only the landlord doesn’t know how many are residing in the building). You have to evaluate every mood, massaging said egos and ensuring the team dynamic functions tippety-top. This isn’t just about telling your captain they’re a vital team member, but exorcising cat spirits and more.
This is the best bit of the game – part visual novel, part management. The art style is excellent, and the writing is wunderbar. Again, referring to Football Drama, the wit is brilliant and so unique that there isn’t anything else like it, and clearly the game’s selling point.
Naturally, a demo doesn’t showcase what we’re likely to see in the full game, and there’s a disclaimer for this. Honestly? I’d happily spend the entire duration in the house, interacting with the many personalities that dwell in it and the peculiar characteristics of the team. As for the playable element? I’d rather it be automated and stick with the management element, but give it a go yourself as the Roller Drama demo is up for grabs on Steam at the time of writing.