Rollers of the Realm
Top Critic Average
A wholly appreciated experiment that does not quite balance both genres, but definitely worth a look with players who are 70 percent pinball fans, 30% RPG.
Rollers of the Realm is a fun, unique, and flawed game that ends up being greater than the sum of its parts.
Rollers of the Realm strives for true innovation by fusing the pinball and RPG genres. There are some clever spins on traditional pinball gameplay, and it's bizarre yet fascinating to see how a story, characters, and RPG stats and abilities are interwoven with this. It's unfortunate, then, that irritating design faults and questionable ball physics significantly mire the ideas at work. It's certainly an unexpected journey, but it's wrought with joys and pains that you should take into consideration, whether you're a pinball connoisseur or not.
Rollers of the Realm gets points for its unique play style and responsive, approachable play. It's definitely not an easily mastered mix of genres, but it's well-done enough that it takes more skill and concentration than it does luck.
Rollers of the Realm, by most respects, is an excellent pinball and RPG hybrid. However, it takes a great amount of skill and no small share of luck to get through it.
Rather than combining the two genres into a perfect blend, Phantom Compass has diluted both before mixing them conservatively. Rollers of the Realm is more gin and tonic than anything else: refreshing, quite enjoyable for the short time it lasts, yet some will find it's not to their tastes. It may not be a perfect amalgamation of Pinball FX 2 and Dragon Age, but RotR is still an above average game with a unique concept and good value for money.
Phantom Compass seems so tied up in getting the single player RPG elements to plug in, that in the shuffle it has missed what's needed to make a compelling pinball experience.
Fortunately, Rollers of the Realm shares enough in other joys. It's clear it likes pinball as much as it likes role-playing games, because the whole game is one big love letter to both, the things mashed together into some odd blender without reason or deeper purpose. It doesn't really need any; what's here is a kind of pure, childlike delight, one that makes it okay to grind gold to buy daggers for my pinball-shaped rogue forever. Nothing about it makes sense, but who cares? Rollers of the Realm just wants to turn you into a pinball wizard.
Rollers of the Realm just never lives up to its potential. Here's hoping that this mediocre offering doesn't spell the end for this genre, though, as I honestly feel we would be worse off for it.
Rollers of the Realm is just as good as when I first encountered it at this year's E3. It's an enormously fun and creative take on two genres you would never think to see in bed together. The gameplay is tight and responsive, the boards are intricate and clever, and the splendid voice acting is an added delight. Rollers is in nearly every way more than you'd expect from a typical pinball game. At just $9.99, this a great holiday buy if you're looking for a digital stocking stuffer or just want something fun and new.