Based on a meme dating back to 2009, the stereotypical world of Polandball makes the jump to video games with the release of Redkar RollerBaller. The joke was already run into the ground more than a decade ago – does this racer manage to keep things fresh?
For the initiated, the countryballs of RollerBaller each represent a different country. Players start their journey with Polandball and can unlock a world of different characters. From Ireland to Italy to Illyr, dozens of regions are represented. Players can also play as the glorious Soviet Union if they so choose.
RollerBaller is a time trial racing game at its core – players must navigate their ball through a number of checkpoints before time runs out. If players take too long, they are brought back to the last checkpoint.
One might think this is a solid enough strategy – arcade racers have implemented a system like this since the days of George Bush Senior. However, trying to actually achieve this goal is an exercise of futility. For one, the controls are terribly inaccurate – using the WASD keys to move and the mouse to adjust the camera works about as well as you’d expect it too. An analog setup would have helped prevent this game’s control scheme from feeling absolutely reckless. Instead, it often feels like you’re fighting the controls every step of the way, overshooting and undershooting at all times.
This is made that much worse with the artificial barriers in each level. Those that move outside the area RollerBaller wants you to see will have to contend with a literal wall of fire, one that prevents players from moving any farther in that particular direction. This would normally not be so bad in and of itself, but it is made that much worse with the poor particle effect that fills the screen with a pixelated haze. It makes a minor annoyance into a glaring flaw.
Players can earn up to three stars in each level, with more stars unlocking more levels. By collecting every coin, every level, and playing on hard, players can unlock all 10 of the levels this game has on tap. Each Countryball costs 20 coins, so those looking to unlock them all will be at it for a while. Much to some likely dismay, however, all changes between regions are merely cosmetic.
There are also a number of skins and achievements to be found. Players can unlock most of them through normal play, but there are achievements for maxing out your stars and getting coins. Nothing out of the ordinary, but still welcome nonetheless.
The world of Polandball was outdated more than 10 years ago, and RollerBaller doesn’t do anything to make it relevant again. The poor control scheme and rudimentary gameplay are an absolute chore to contend with, and the humor is far too one note for its own good.
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