Certain games cater to different audiences with various genres, but none more so than the speedrunning community. Gamers often come across news stories about players breezing through titles such as Elden Ring or the latest RPG, like Starfield, in just a few hours. But sometimes a game emerges that caters to these fans with a lightning-fast pace, responsive gameplay, vibrant visuals, and an electrifying soundtrack that brings joy to the player’s ears. That title is none other than Rooftop Renegade.
A Platformer Where Speed Is King
Rooftop Renegade, a speedrunning platformer, was created and published by Melonhead Games, a studio in South Australia. This is a game where having the fastest time can make a difference in your overall letter grade after each stage.
Every environment you traverse is filled with dangerous hazards, including pipes you must slide under, holographic platforms, and doors that demand skilled maneuvering. There are even entire platforms likely to detonate because of relentless laser barrages from the tenacious Globacrop adversaries, determined to stop your progress at any cost.
Much of the gameplay revolves around the abilities that you use, tied to your hoverblades that your main character glides around on.
As you complete each level, your rank ascends, unlocking new hoverblades and outfits that give new abilities for achieving faster times. These enhancements include higher jumps, the ability to burst through obstacles, and a forward dash, among others. As you leap, grind, and slide towards victory, your skills might even earn the admiration of Sonic the Hedgehog himself.
Every few levels are tied to a specific theme that matches each environment while ramping up the difficulty. As you move through each level, you will gather purple crystals that increase your score and help shorten the cooldown on your abilities. This will allow you to chain together combos that will have you soaring through the level while achieving the best time possible.
Sometimes, I’m amazed by how I can master these unique abilities as I frantically try to time my jumps and slides in quick succession. This game helps you become a skilled player. You have to overcome each challenge by developing new strategies and finding the fastest path within the level, all while avoiding enemy fire and not trying to get captured by the Globacorp van that’s pursuing you.
Laying the Barren Narrative Groundwork
I will say the only negative flaw with Rooftop Renegade is its story.
While I do like the overall setup in the beginning — where you watch a quick video showing the main character stealing a device from Globacorp as you skate away on your hover boots — I would have liked to see some backstory on our female protagonist.
You do receive subtle hints from reading the descriptions on the title cards before each level that provide some backstory. You learn how Globacorp is mining the Moon for additional purple crystals and how said crystals power the city’s infrastructure, but it’s not enough.
While I would have liked to see a fleshed-out narrative played with animated cutscenes and voice-acting galore, I'm fine with the game's initial setup before you get to the main menu. It's only a minor nitpick to an otherwise fantastic indie platformer.
Dynamic, Replayable Modes
Though you get to replay all the levels to get the fastest time and unlock new abilities you rank up, you also have a couple of unique modes that will make your controller-holding fingers clench up with excitement.
One mode that’s present in the gif above is a local multiplayer mode where you, as the runner, are trying to complete the level with the best time while your three friends/players are playing as gunners, mowing down obstacles with excessive laser gun fire like they're 80s film henchmen trying to shoot the main hero. After you finish a level as the runner, you then take control as a gunner to stop the next player from trying to get their quickest score.
You can also use the auto-generator mode to create unique challenges for yourself by entering keywords such as "PIPES" or "CLOUDS". This mode dynamically generates a level by combining various worlds, layouts, hazards, and enemy combinations. You pick your exact loadout and dive head-first into a new run to see if you can complete it.
Each mode adds another layer of replayability to an already fast and fluid platformer. I can see myself having some fun by inviting a few friends over for the gunner mode and turning it into a game of running and tagging, almost as if we were playing a game of Mario Party, just with a lot more neon and explosions.
Overall, I would recommend Rooftop Renegade as a game that tests your speedrunning prowess. Visually, it's a gorgeous-looking game with several environments that catch your eye and effects like explosions and neon-trimming on the rails that please your optical senses. The amount of replayability is great to see, making you want to improve your times and mess up your friend's scores for bragging rights.
It’s worth noting that this game strongly recommends using a controller because of the need for frequent button inputs, such as assigning abilities to the face buttons and activating speed boosts with shoulder buttons. While it could be interesting to watch someone attempt to play this game with a mouse and keyboard during a Twitch stream, it remains an option that seems unwieldy.
Still, you can't go wrong with a game that provides enough challenge with fast and fluid gameplay that makes you want to get the fastest time with as little to no frustration whatsoever. That's Rooftop Renegade in a nutshell, so do yourself favor and crack into this one.
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