STAFF REVIEW of Rooftop Renegade (Xbox One)

Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
by Peggy Doyle

Rooftop Renegade Box art Since I started reviewing games I’ve started paying closer attention to who makes them and where they are coming from. For most players, these things probably don’t make much difference but my curiosity always gets the best of me when trying to see if certain areas of the world tend to make certain styles of games, or if certain developers like to mix it up etc. Recently I’ve noticed more and more fantastic indie games coming out of Australia, and Rooftop Renegade in the most recent to come to my attention via review code.

Rooftop Renegade is the first game from Melonhead Games out of South Australia and it has hit the market running, literally. It’s a racing game where speed and style combine to make a fast-moving and enjoyable title. You play as Svetlana, a renegade who is being chased by Globacorp. Luckily, she has her trusty hover blades, allowing her to soar and glide above the city as well as a few extra abilities that help her dash along her escape route.

The core gameplay boils down to move from left to right as fast as you can, primarily sliding on rails and jumping over gaps. Now, that’s obviously not the only thing you have to do. There are crystals to collect throughout your route as well, and a combination of speed and crystals collected will determine your score at the end of each level. I’m not entirely sure of the calculations for this score as sometimes I was faster but had a lower crystal count, or vice versa, and got a lower score, so I’m not sure what the math is involved in determining the scores. As you move through the 24 levels in Arcade mode, you will open different skills like speed boosts, higher jumps, and ‘phasing’ (which helps you move through dangers unscathed). Each of these skills has a brief cool down associated with them, so knowing when to use them at the right time factors into your movement. You will also unlock different hover blades that offer upgrades as well. At the beginning of each level, you can pick what blades you wish to use depending on hazards on the level. You learn new skills at a tempered speed, so the game doesn’t have a steep learning curve. I never felt overwhelmed even though I am not the best at this style of game and my reflexes aren’t what they used to be.

As you level up you will eventually no longer just be racing to the end solo, but also have the evil Globacorp shooting at you, setting traps and barriers to slow you down, or chasing you with their hover car. They will blow up platforms and rails, engage barrier traps and obstacles trying to slow your progress. Slow down too much and they’ll catch you and you’ll fail the level. There is no punishment for failing a level other than a hit to your pride, and you can replay levels at any time to improve your score. There are achievements associated with reaching a score of A or above in all levels as well as one for hitting a score of S in all levels. When you replay levels, you’ll see your ghost running along with you so you’ll always know if you are ahead or behind your best time.

While there isn’t a huge variety in the style of the levels, each one provides slight differences to keep you on your toes. Whether it’s a different style of traps, or increased verticality with more options to move, I enjoyed the design very much. The Sci-Fi visuals were enough to pull me into the futuristic world. If the graphics weren’t enough, the dynamic soundtrack kept me in the zone while I dashed and jumped through the neon levels.

Besides the 24 levels in the Arcade Mode (Campaign) there is also a Generator Mode that gives you a random level to play, and a Party Mode allowing 3 friends to join you (Local Multiplayer) and play as Globacorp trying to stop you. I didn’t play any of the Party Mode but enjoyed the Generator Mode and found it kept things interesting and allowed for extended replayability.

For $22.99 CDN ($17.99 USD) it’s an excellent value for the fun I had with it. Although rather simple in style, and even though I found myself wanting additional skills and upgrades available to me, I found myself very easily falling into the ‘just one more run’ mentality. Knowing what mistakes you’ve made and hoping to avoid them the next time. This proves to me that although simple, the game was very addictive and engaging. It’s no wonder Rooftop Renegade walked away with an Indie Showcase and People’s choice award at PAX Australia in 2022. I really hope that we’ll get some DLC sometime in the future and I can’t wait to see what Melonhead Games gives us next.

*Rooftop Renegade was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X*

Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10


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