Roof Rage is a pixel art styled fighting game that borrows heavily from games like Super Smash Bros. and blends it all together with mature martial arts elements. Chaotic fighting is nothing new to the genre, which can be fun and interesting, but sometimes this can be offset by a couple of factors. Difficulty, variety, and replayability are important for allowing us to enjoy these kinds of games. And while Roof Rage gets a few things right, not everything comes together as well as it should in this pixelated brawler. Even if you are a big fan of all types of Smash-like games, you might find yourself a bit frustrated at what you’ll find here.
There’s not much different with the overall setup and design of Roof Rage and other similar party fighting games. You battle atop stages where you can either deplete an opponent’s health or knock them far off the platform to win, nothing more or less. There are twelve different characters to play as in Roof Rage, each with their own arsenal of moves to knock opponents around. The controls follow a simple format, with standard attacks being mapped to one button and directional inputs, while special moves are the same with another button. Depending on who you choose to play with, some characters will be a lot more difficult to utilize in a match than others, despite the controls being straight forward. Special moves can look pretty flashy on most occasions, but they might prove useless in application if you aren’t timing attacks right. Balance can be
Matches can finish up quickly when you’re fast on reaction and tactical with your combos. Knocking someone out of the stage is the fastest way to score knockouts, but not the easiest. This can get offset heavily as more fighters are brought into a match, leading to a more chaotic fight on screen. Up to eight fighters can participate, which is great but it can get difficult to keep track of your fighter while roaming around the stage.
The camera can sometimes be too far away to show everyone on screen and make it hard to pinpoint your exact positioning when attacking or dodging incoming attacks. The pixel art in these kinds of situations, while nice to look at otherwise, can blend together too easily and make things seem like a real mess when you’re trying to get your bearings. With CPU opponents this can be a nightmare for one main reason, the AI can be incredibly tough to fight against in all modes.
This is a major issue with the arcade mode, no matter what difficulty setting you choose at the start. The CPU can be very aggressive and land attacks into combos that would sometimes feel improbable in any other case. During the arcade mode when more fighters are pitted against you at the same time, this can make matches a lot more tedious and frustrating. Most of the time, the CPU will be teamed up against you in matches that feel very one-sided, especially on the higher difficulty levels.
You have very little room to react to incoming attacks and counter your opponents, so much to the point that it becomes very overwhelming, forcing you to retry battles over and over again. This wouldn’t be a big deal for the harder difficulty setting, but it feels like there’s very little difference even on Easy Mode, which is supposed to be the lightest setting for the CPU. Whether due to a bug or unbalanced attacks during a fight, this doesn’t feel like the case at all.
At the time of release, there is no online mode for Roof Rage. There are local matches you can do with either the CPU or other players, which can be fun. If you’re able to muster up the courage to take on the CPU, you can do so with up to seven fighters besides yourself. But you’ll have a lot more fun playing with other human players, especially if you have up to seven other friends with you. There are a few unlockable characters you can get from finishing the Arcade mode, but there’s not much beyond that. There’s no other game modes or bonuses, so what you see is what you get.
There are some good parts to Roof Rage, but hopefully some patches and updates over time will tweak and add more to the game. Without the online mode at launch, there’s very little to do outside of play the arcade mode and local matches. Battling a CPU that seems overpowered can get frustrating after a while, especially with little else to enjoy about the game. The visuals look good and the premise is an interesting twist on the Smash Bros. formula, but Roof Rage can use a bit more improvements before it can be a really excellent and fun experience.
This review is based on a digital review code for Roof Rage on the Nintendo Switch, provided by Early Melon.