A semi-serious review of Roach Race, which seemed like a joke but is a real game, available on Android and iOS devices.
The story between Geralt of Rivia and Rutilia is perhaps the story of the greatest affection that can be found in the raw world created by Andrzej Sapkowski for The Witcher. Therefore it seems appropriate that this too can be at the center of a video game and it is also sacrosanct to find ourselves in front of one Roach Race review, to evaluate the spin-off dedicated to the Witcher mare. As a kind of funny joke, CD Projekt RED launched this Roach Race as an in-game game inside arcade machines in Cyberpunk 2077, but it turns out that it’s a real title, also available on smartphones as free- to-play.
In this form it does not connect to the issue of shared high scores in the RPG science fiction world and not even to the rewards that can be unlocked in this one, but finds in the mobile form its full realization of a very classic endless runner, which curiously works quite a bit. well, to be a joke.
On the other hand, the idea is not lacking in charm: lost in the thousand adventures of Geralt of Rivia, has anyone perhaps ever thought about the feelings of Rutilia? That poor beast that, called at any moment, shows up within minutes wherever the Witcher is, what kind of life will he lead outside of the scenes? How does he always be within reach of the whistle?
Well, Roach Race probably won’t answer these profound questions but it can, if nothing else, shed some light on this elusive supporting actor in Geralt’s adventures, staging what could be his aspirations and dreams of freedom, including unbridled races with a free rein and lots of carrots.
Infinite gallop, or almost
There history it is poignant, but told with extreme hermeticism, to imply an epic that has no need to be explicit in words. The opening scene is enough, with the horse standing proudly on the roof of a stable and Geralt looking at it from below, to make it clear how much the poetics of Roach Race is based on a daring reversal of perspective, which sees the modest assistant become finally protagonist. With jumps and heroic poses, the mare seems to want to take the scene with force, but it is only a moment, because at the press of a button she immediately begins her mad rush, driven by a desire for unprecedented freedom. Or maybe just carrots and apples, hard to say precisely.
All we can do, in terms of gameplay, is to go along with Rutilia’s gallop and try to make her avoid obstacles by jumping and going as far as possible to get the maximum score. Crows, fences, chasms, griffins and various creatures come to meet the protagonist and it is up to us to find the right timing to make jumps and double jumps, at the same time collecting apples and carrots able to give further accelerations with a lot of aggressive poses.
Here we reconnect to the more classic tradition of the endless runner, returning to the elegant simplicity of Canabalt, but with a scan in levels that somehow reminds us of the settings and stories of The Witcher, even in the obsessive repetition of the usual mechanisms.
There graphics in pixel art it is minimalist, but it even manages to be expressive in some cases. Beyond the crazy heroic poses of Rutilia, who seems to want to fully enjoy her moment of glory by flaunting a frankly unsuspected agility and power, even seeing poor Geralt desperately chasing his mare can be worth the cost of the download (i.e. zero. EUR). Not to mention the moving scene of the Witcher running worried towards Rutilia as soon as she crashes into an obstacle, presumably to console her (or to beat her, it is not very clear, but we want to lean towards the prettiest hypothesis).
- Simple, relaxing, free and no frills
- An irresistible, albeit very basic, parody of The Twitcher
- Rutilia in all its glory
- It’s a classic endless runner, nothing more
- Physiologically repetitive
- It would take more skits between Geralt and the mare