When I first saw Rollers of the Realm at the corner of my eye a couple of weekends ago at IndieCade, I suddenly had a spring on my step. I’ve only heard about this game from that one time Ari mentioned it, so it was really nice to be able to actually get some hands on time with it. In case you haven’t heard, Rollers of the Realm combines two genres that seem to have absolutely no relationship to one another–RPGs and pinball–creating a unique experience that not only puts a spin (get it?) on pinball conventions, but also is both deep and intuitive. Old school Pinball Quest fans from the NES era, pay attention.
At first glance, you’ll notice that Rollers of the Realm’s boards don’t different much from the traditional pinball boards you’ve come to know. In fact, most of them are fairly straightforward. What you’ll begin to notice, however, are that many of the creatures and beings that inhabit the board all have individual animations and reactions to the player. In the demo that I played, I played the role of a Rogue who’s trying to sneak into this castle, but there are guards that were blocking the way. In need of a distraction, the game teaches you about its magic system that builds up every time the ball hits an element of the board. Once this is full, you can summon a dog to distract the guards, which basically appears as another ball that you can use on the board.
Mentioning Pinball Quest to the game’s developers made their eyes light up as they explained that they wanted to deliver a much deeper RPG experience than the former. But one thing that the developers also told me was that their goal is to also allow casual pinball fans to enjoy the game while allowing the pros to enjoy some of the finer nuances of the gameplay. Rollers of the Realm does not have a traditional tilt mechanic. Instead, the game has a nudge function, activated by the Left Stick during the demo, that allows the player to give the ball a push towards a specific direction. This nudge function can only be used sparingly and can’t be used to completely divert a ball’s direction of travel instantly.
Unlike most pinball games, there are surfaces that affect the ball’s speed and roll. In one area of the game, there were patches of hay that dramatically slowed down the ball’s speed and helps casual players properly manage the ball around the board. Perhaps one of the cooler features of the game is the ability to change your ball’s class when holding it by the flipper and flipping through the different classes using the Left Stick. Each character has their own perks. I’ve already mentioned the Rogue earlier, who can also pickpocket civilians just by touching them, but the demo I played also had a Knight and a class that was proficient with bombs. The Knight can destroy strong barricades that would otherwise prevent the Rogue from passing through and the ball representing him is, unsurprisingly, very heavy and slightly larger. The class that was proficient with bombs would randomly emit bombs as it’s launched from the flippers, making it highly effective against enemies that are wandering about the field.
There’s still a long ways to go until we see this game on Steam, but there’s already plans to bring this title to other platforms like iOS and the Vita. For now, the developers need your help in bringing this game to Steam, and we’ve provided a link to Steam’s Greenlight page for this game.