Roof Rage is a high-intensity indie platform fighter that falls somewhere in the middle of a spectrum with TowerFall on one end and Super Smash Bros. on the other. Like TowerFall, Roof Rage boasts pixel art, fast and free movement, and quick, decisive skirmishes. However, instead of a universal, one-hit-kill combat system like with TowerFall’s lethal arrows, Roof Rage uses prolonged encounters between a varied cast of characters to great effect, sort of like Super Smash Bros. Roof Rage is not as good as either title, but failing to clear such a high bar is not a disqualifier. While the game is held back by the limited options outside of local multiplayer, the gameplay still shines thanks to its acrobatic movement and a host of distinct characters, which combine forces to forge some incredibly intense battles.
Behind high-flying double jumps, endless wall kicks, and a litany of aerial attacks, you can practically glide throughout the entire map in Roof Rage. Every character is appropriately agile and nimble. The freedom and smoothness in the game’s movement set it apart from its in-genre brethren. With careful timing and an opportunistic eye, you can escape tricky encounters in an instant, serpentine around poison darts and dangerous energy balls, and wall kick or roll around your opponent in order to get the jump on them — but beware, because they’re as capable as you are of pulling off a quick move and flipping the script. Roof Rage is a constant battle where you have to pair fast thinking with decisive, reflexive strategies.
Roof Rage has plenty of characters, each with their own fairly deep move sets utilizing quick attacks, stronger hits, and various creative combos. While the game is primarily about melee combat, tons of different play styles are encouraged. Several fighters have projectiles up their sleeve, like Punk, who uses his baseball bat to launch spikey spheres everywhere, and Lionel, who brought his rifle to the fight. Others are more focused on hand-to-hand combat or creating shockwaves with giant hammers. Hoon, meanwhile, is an endearing homage to Street Fighter II’s Ryu, boasting attacks clearly inspired by Hadouken and Dragon Punch. Each of the game’s 13 unique fighters is a joy to play around with, offering powerful, surprising, and fun attacks.
Battles are, of course, the bread and butter of the game. They can fit up to eight people, but not comfortably. Having more than three or four tiny pixel fighters on screen at once is highly impractical, since you’ll barely be able to see your character amidst the constant pile-ups and buzzing around the screen. Roof Rage works best with two-to-four players, where you can still easily make sense of what is unfolding in front of you while trying to traverse the game’s many vertical stages.
According to its main menu, Roof Rage will eventually offer online play, but it is not yet available on Switch, and there is no indication of when an update will arrive. Couple that with an uninspiring arcade mode for single-player, and your only two options for enjoying Roof Rage are via local multiplayer or one-off matches against CPUs. Realistically, you should only jump in on this one if you have people nearby to play with — and if you do have people to play with, you’re in for a great time.
Roof Rage is a lot of fun. It doesn’t reinvent its genre, but the speedy, acrobatic action and wide cast of characters make for a unique platform fighting experience that is always good for a few quick matches. With the lack of a fleshed-out single player and online that is nowhere to be found, the game is essentially limited to local multiplayer. That’s not such a bad thing, though, since that local multiplayer is just pure fun. If you’re looking for an enjoyable, fleshed out, competitive couch multiplayer game, Roof Rage is a great pick.
A review code was provided by the publisher.