Rooftop Renegade is a futuristic 2D side-scrolling speedrunning platform game where you navigate short levels by hover-blading yourself through hazards, speeding up on grind rails, and escaping the evil Globacorp, who are on a mission to capture you.
The main mission is to navigate the twenty-four levels as fast as you can. Not only to evade capture but to log the fastest time you can. There are built-in features to help you do this, including speed panels, boost rings, and the mentioned grind rails. You also have access to a boost feature by pressing ZL that gives you a short speed increase and charges as you play.
The crystal shards also affect your level in the game; each time you level up, not only do you unlock new hover blades but also a new batch of areas. If you haven’t hit the required level by the time you have completed the last accessible area, then you have to repeat earlier areas to fill up your bar and level up. You do not need to improve your previous performance to gain extra XP; just completing the level is enough, which is a shame as it becomes monotonous and I lost interest as there’s no extra challenge to try and improve your grade apart from your own perseverance.
Apart from the main arcade mode, there is also a level generator where you select an amount of variables and the game randomly generates a level based on your sections, and there is also a local multiplayer mode, confusingly called “party mode,” where one player takes control of our heroin and the other player becomes a Globalcorp gunner.
Rooftop Renegades’ visuals are good, nothing out of this world, but they do the job with good neon style effects in places and a smooth frame rate that won’t affect your efforts to speedrun. The accompanying soundtrack is filled with dancy drum and bass style tracks which compliment the gaming well and is also available from today.
As you progress through the game, you unlock new hover blades that give you more chances to be even faster through new abilities like an upward boost, zipping through obstacles and destroying them, or transporting yourself through barriers to access different parts of the multiple levels each area contains. Some of the aforementioned obstacles trying to slow you down include energy barriers, gravity squares, electric zappers, and scenic barriers, mostly pipes that cover your path. You can slide underneath these, jump over them if possible, or use your already mentioned powers. Globacorp is there to also slow you down by firing projectiles to turn off the speed-boosting abilities of the grind rails, reverse the direction of the speed panels, turn on the energy fences, or reverse the gravity squares. Thankfully, there are rare pink coloured rails you can find that if you grind on them will fire a projectile at the Globacorp soldiers and temporarily stun them, giving you some restspite from their offence.
As you go through the levels, you collect crystal shards, which help to recharge your dash but also help your overall score, which you receive at the end of each area. Your score and overall grade are affected by how many crystals you collect, how many obstacles you avoid, and how well you perform.
Rooftop Renegade is a fun distraction for a spare half-hour of your day. There is a fun game here with some good, interesting gameplay features. The speedrunning is enjoyable, and you do start to feel good when you put a few moves together. The crystal shards add an extra level to the game, and I appreciate that they have been made essential to collect instead of a throwaway feature like I have seen in other similar-style games. The unlockable hover blades and features were fun, and I loved the multiple paths through each area.
But it feels slightly empty in some ways through its storyline, which you seem to get no ending to. I would have liked to have had more time spent setting up the plot and being introduced to the main character instead of weaving it into the loading screens. I felt no connection to her, nor did I care for her plight.
Rooftop Renegade will not rock your world, but if you’re the type who likes a speedrunning challenge set to some good visuals and interesting gameplay, you’ll have a lot of fun. If none of that ticks your boxes, then it may be best to look elsewhere for your next gaming experience.
Rooftop Renegade is out now for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch.