The last time I traveled to Jam City, I made a left on Peanut Butter Lane and ended up in the land of Sandwich Deliciousness! But that was just a wonderful, wonderful dream. In real life, I played the upcoming WiiWare title Jam City Rollergirls at PAX 2010 and was impressed with the racing game's lighthearted style and fast-paced, Mario Kart-like action.
The game allows you to play as different real-life roller derby crews from all over the country (Although hometown favorites the L.A. Derby Dolls are not included) and mix it up with other roller skating chicks in a battle to the death...or to the highest point total. There is a single-player mode and dual-player mode, but the split-screen multiplayer is the way to go, so that's what I played.
The game follows the Byzantine, impenetrable rules of "real" roller derby; there are two teams, each made up of "Pivots," a bunch of guardians called Blockers, and a point scorer called a Jammer. Players inhabit the shapely body of a jammer and try to score points...the rules get a little fuzzy for me after that, but I sussed out that the best strategy is to skate really fast and knock the hell out of any broads that get in your way.
Like real roller derby, you skate around a smallish track, over and over again, but unlike real roller derby, there are patches that speed up your skating, and power-ups that allow you to bedevil your opponents with bombs, blue-shell like attacks, water-balloons, and other surprises. Apparently, other tracks include elements like cows, caverns, and other surprises, although I played on a bare bones course.
You have your opponent's blockers to contend with as you whiz around the track, and you use your own blockers to help out. You can command your blockers to take different formations, and I suppose execute strategies beyond the aforementioned Skate Real Fast style I played, but I didn't get much beyond skating around and punching people in the neck, to be honest.
Different skaters have different attributes, so whether you prefer a slow moving bruiser, or a whippet-like speed demon, Rollergirls has you covered. You can customize your skater with unlockable, stat-boost gear, too.
A brief, semi-related note about the game: Your enjoyment of the game's two-player mode will depend partially on who you play with, a gaming axiom that was demonstrated by the young dude playing the game with me at Rollergirls' PAX booth. Basically, he was a (INSULT REDACTED) and was reveling in his victory over me, loudly trash-talking and whatnot, in spite of the fact that I didn't know him and had never played this game before. So if you are going to play Rollergirls, be mindful of who's on the couch next to you; it sometimes means the difference between a light-hearted gaming experience and an unpleasant ordeal.
Jam City Rollergirls is set to release on WiiWare late 2010 for $10.