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|Title:||Jam City Rollergirls|
|Rating:||3.5 out of 5|
|ESRB Rating:||Everyone 10+|
You may think roller derby is a fad from the past, but pop-culture and Frozen Codebase will disagree and present proof in the form of a new game on WiiWare showing the vibrant following of roller derbies across the nation. The FTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association) will tell you roller derby is one of the fastest-growing sports in the US.
On your Wii, Jam City Rollergirls lets you select a team, a track and tear shit up in an Everyone 10+ kind of way. What's not to like about women racing around a track on skates with fists pumping and punching? Sounds like something Tank Girl would like, eh?
Don't worry about the term "flat track". Jam City Rollergirls goes over-the-top in creating radical terrain with lots of power-ups to keep things interesting. Don't worry you won't get bored as you skate along
Part of the allure comes from urban legends of roller derbies and the lack of representation in video games. I hate football, but can name a dozen football titles on various consoles. Name one roller derby game. Go ahead - name just one. Everyone has hear of roller derbies, but you'll have a tough time engaging the frenzied mania in video game form. Similarly, I still complain about the lack of horse racing video games too.
The game is comprised of 5 teams - New York's Gotham Girls, Milwaukee's Brewcity Bruisers, Austin's Texecutioners, Madison's Dairyland Dolls and Seattle's Rat City Rollergirls. Each team also has a home track accented with local themes.
The 5 teams, 5 tracks and single music track may frustrate you, but keep in mind there are size constraints to developing a WiiWare game. Many extras often have to be passed over to conform to the size requirements. Remember when it downloaded in a few minutes, not 2 hours? The reality is that Jam City Rollergirls is such a good game that I wish it were a full disc-based release. I'm sure a full game would have ample space for more teams, tracks and music.
Making use of both the remote and nunchuk, you control speed and movement with the nunchuk and have a host of tricks and moves to execute with the remote's D=pad and buttons. It supports both 1 and 2-player games were each player joins a team. The fun mounts with 2-player games as you go head-to-head with each other. For those who just want to dive in, there is a Quick Play option that sets your wheels rolling and fists bopping.
Roller derby is a sport that requires context to understand, as it's not quite as clear-cut as "get ball in goal." Bouts, as they're called, are made up of a series of two-minute jams that take place on a rounded flat track, and the two competing teams are made up of a combination of blockers and jammers. Teams go round the track, and points are scored when a team's jammer (in Jam City, that's you) passes skaters of the opposing team, who in turn try to block and bop you in order to slow you down.
The first jammer out in front of the pack is named the lead jammer, who then has the ability to strategically call off the jam early - good for locking in points or preventing the other team from scoring. And of course, the team with the most points by the end of the bout wins, with draws decided by overtime jams.
I discovered this game via a random email from Nintendo and thought roller derby would be a good medium for a video game. Girls, fast action and mayhem. All WiiWare games have limitations, but this is a really fun game with enough options to keep players coming back for more. At 1,000 Wii Points ($10) you can't go wrong. There is now a free demo version, so go download a copy and check it out. Its a cool game, with a unique theme and it isn't like "every other game" out there. It's fun, solid and did I mention the girls...?
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