Roller Champions hands-on premiere: Ubisoft’s fun, F2P answer to Rocket League

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LOS ANGELES-During its E3 2019 press conference, Ubisoft revealed a previously leaked three-on-three sports game, Roller Champions. But the company still had a tidy surprise for anyone who already knew about this virtual take on roller derby: the game is now available to download and play as part of a limited, E3-timed online demo for free.

Based on a half-hour of hands-on time playing the game ahead of the conference, we strongly suggest anyone with a Windows PC and the UPlay game launcher-and an affinity for the virtual-sports action of Rocket League-do just that.

The above gallery will tell you mostly everything you need to know about how the game looks and plays. Flashy, clear character designs whip around an oval skate track at high speeds, all vying for possession of a ball that must be carried or tossed all the way around the track at least one full lap before it can be “scored.” Tossing the ball into a single hoop, hanging on the side of the track, will score your team that point, or you can try to keep possession for another lap or two to increase your shot’s score value. Lose the ball, and the lap-count resets for the other team. First team to five points wins.

Exactly how the game will function as a retail product remains unclear, beyond confirmation that Roller Champions will be a wholly free-to-play game whenever Ubisoft decides to launch it. (No release date has yet been announced outside this week’s free demo.) Will its microtransaction economy be wholly cosmetic? We didn’t see any hints of items that can be used within a match, thus suggesting that we won’t see Candy Crush-like “speed-up” unlock tokens. But we also didn’t see hints of in-game progression that can be earned solely by playing and winning.

For now, at least, the game is easy enough to pick up and play, and the three-on-three action, which revolves around high-speed tackling and slope-crouching momentum, is instantly attractive. Head to Ubisoft’s UPlay launcher on Windows PCs to download for free and try Roller Champions for yourself between now and June 14.

Listing image by Ubisoft