Rollerdrome Accessibility Review — Can I Play That?

Ben Bayliss8 minute read

Rollerdrome Accessibility

Deaf / Hard of HearingBlind / Low VisionMobilityCognitive

Rollerdrome is an action-packed shooter that offers a great number of assists for players to make their experience their own. The game has no reliance on audio but does come with a High Contrast Audio feature for audio clarity. Sadly, those with limited mobility may still find gameplay arduous because of the style of gameplay, and those with low vision won't find much in the way of guidance.

Score

7 out of 10
  • No reliance on audio
  • High Contrast Audio feature
  • Number of useful assists
  • Simple management and auto-aim by design
  • Gameplay can involve too many inputs
  • Small text across menus
  • Visual guidance can be lacking
  • Subtitles are not wonderful

Zipping and zooming around an arena in Rollerdrome like I’m playing a cel-shaded Tony Hawk with guns is how I feel in this action-packed sports-arcade hybrid. With Rollerdrome having a focus on gun control on top of tricks to perform, I’m incredibly curious about what to expect for accessibility. This review focuses on the PC version of the review.

Onboarding and Boot

The accessibility menu in Rollerdrome, the Subtitle Text Size setting has focus and shows a preview below the slider

When first booted there’s no accessibility menu to contend to, but then the game boots me straight into the main menu. From here, the Settings area includes a number of features, and it’s nice to see both an accessibility menu, as well as an assist menu, tucked away here.

It’s likely important to note that the use of assists is flagged to state that players won’t be ranked on the online leaderboards. Despite this, what’s available is great to see. You can check out our Menu Deep Dive to see what Rollerdrome offers for accessibility and more here. Initially, it looks rather promising.

When I jump into the tutorial sections, I’m walked through, step-by-step how to operate each mechanic, from moving, performing grabs, tricks, dodging, and shooting. Each section requires me to complete a specific number of these before allowing me to progress, which can be a barrier if someone’s struggling to use the multiple inputs needed.

These can be skipped, however. The issue was that I wasn’t aware I could skip until I wanted to give up on one tutorial and quit the game, then saw the menu option.

Controls

There’s a reason the onboarding can be so problematic with the controls, and that’s because there’s so much to contend with. This is a shame as it’s clear there’s been some form of thought into making the game playable. Moving forward only requires one upwards push and then the player only needs to focus on turning in regards to general movement.

There are controller and keyboard and mouse remapping available. The aiming also comes with an automatic lock-on so that there’s no need to perform precise aiming. Aiming is also independent from movement, so turning left and right will need to be done separately from just using the mouse for movement aiming.

Performing tricks is a requirement to earn ammo. Ammo is required to clear an arena from the waves of spawning enemies. Tricks can come in the form of grinding edges, performing grabs, and rolling while performing grabs, and this means multiple inputs.

At its default, I’m required to press and hold A to jump a ramp, then I press and hold X while choosing a left-stick direction to perform a grab, and then if I want to roll as well, I’ll have to hold the RB button. If I want to aim and shoot while still falling from that jump, I have to look with the right stick, hold the left trigger, then fire with the right trigger.

By design, aiming does slow time, which can be very useful, but does require aiming. A further game speed assist feature does allow me to drop the speed by down to 50%, which for some still might not be enough. In addition, other assists such as invincibility and infinite ammo may be enough to allow players to just clear an arena and move on to the next — at the cost of not being ranked on the leaderboards.

Furthermore, unlocking the next levels does require completing arenas in chronological order, even with the No Challenges assist. By default, players are required to complete a certain number of challenges to unlock access to other levels.

Subtitles and Legibility

There are subtitles available for the game, however, their presence feels largely reminiscent of Forza Horizon 4 pre-update where they’re tucked into the corner. Granted, the subtitles in Rollerdrome are somewhat more legible and even come with customization. They have a background, a speaker icon to indicate audio, and a speaker label that awkwardly blends into the dialogue text.

Having these tucked into a corner rather than appear as the globally recognizable subtitle format can cause a confused double-take and also draws the eye away from the main scene. Although, it should be said most of the audible dialogue is all outside of the main gameplay.

For legibility, tutorial windows are in higher contrast than anything else in the game, practically opague. Subtitles and other background boxes in-game could have been done with a similar background opacity

Text could have been made larger everywhere else, challenges, for example, are small to fit everything into the assigned box which can be an eyesore. The contrast between the text and background is nice and I do like how the menus are laid out.

There’s a moment where I go first-person in the locker room and this area seems largely designed for building the world lore for those that want it in between competition progression. There are posters and a PowerPoint presentation in this room, and when the center reticle hovers over it, a text box for better legibility is displayed.

For gameplay, the elapsed time feels largely put aside and illegible despite being a decent size. The equipped weapon and ammo counter is clear, and trick types and scores are also well presented, although could do with darker backgrounds as an option for higher contrast.

Later arenas will grow to be more complex with combat which does find more happening on screen as combos rack up, but I always felt this was nicely balanced.

Directionality and High Contrast Audio

There are sniper lasers that lock onto me to show me their direction, and incoming danger is indicated through a 3D circle at my feet. The arenas are compact and not entirely complex. However, I can still feel fairly lost in trying to find the last few enemies. What’s more, enemies with timed attacks targeting you do have the red guide, which when it turns white, will activate a perfect dodge if you hit dodge at the right moment.

In an earlier level, I saw an enemy silhouette through a wall, which was great for me! After that though, I never saw a silhouette again which caused confusion. I’m unsure if this feature was only for the opening missions, or if I’ve just not been able to clearly notice it in later levels.

Instead, skating around to find enemies is how I had to play rather than be directed to them. Not at all a terrible thing, but having the visual information could have helped me feel more badass knowing exactly where I needed to go rather than skating around unable to see enemies.

Rollerdrome also has an accessibility setting for High Contrast Audio which accentuates key sounds, making them stand out clearly against the rest of the game audio. This is particularly useful for those who may prefer to focus more on key sounds rather than have audio overload drowning them out.

Managing the Rollerdrome

There are pickups to gather in the arenas; Trick Tokens, Combo Tokens, and health. The health that drops from enemies is automatically collected, but the rest requires predetermined planning to reach.

Switching weapons is simple, and knowing how each one functions is needed, for example, performing slug shots with the shotgun. Although as noted earlier, switching weapons and functions does add to more mobility fiddling.

Conclusion

Rollerdrome certainly has a good deal of accessibility and assist features and certainly allows the player to make the experience their own. However, the reliance on multiple inputs can be a barrier for those with limited mobility regardless of the features available.

For those unsure about Rollerdrome and its accessibility, at least on PlayStation, there is a Trial version available. Access to this is restricted to PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium tiers, however.

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Ben
BaylissEditor-in-ChiefHe/Him

Ben is the one in charge of keeping the content cogs at Can I Play That? turning. Deafness means that he has a focus on discussing captions, but with experience in consultancy and advocacy, he covers what bases he can. Having written about accessibility in video games at DualShockers, GamesRadar+, GamesIndustry.biz, Wireframe, and more he continues his advocacy at CIPT. He was actually awarded a Good Games Writing award for an article he wrote here! He enjoys a range of games, but anything that’s open-world and with a photo mode will probably be his cup of tea. You can get in touch with him at: ben@caniplaythat.com

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