Written by Colby Sunday, 29 April 2012 05:00
Sorry folks this is not a review for the hit musical Rock of Ages, but in fact for the totally insane (in a good way) downloadable title published by Atlus. Rock of Ages is currently going for 800 Microsoft space bucks, or $10 in real people money, but has already been on sale via XBLA promotion so be sure to watch for it to pop up again. Keep reading to what makes this game so great, or maybe good is a better word.
What makes Rock of Ages stand out so much is that it is completely unique. Most games these days are just rehashes of the same exact ideas and mechanincs with different skins of settings, but I have never seen another game like Rock of Ages. Rock of Ages is like some crazy mix of tower defense, skeeball, and angry birds. Most maps in the campaign mode, except the boss stages, sets you against another prominent historic figure and each of you must roll jumping rocks down identical ramps and then at the end of the ramp crash it into your opponents castle trying to break through and squash them.
How's it like angry birds?
As you control your rock it's very physics based and you must try and crash into everything you can to make money. The downside of crashing into stuff is that it slows you down as well as damages your rock making it less potent in the final crash against the castle gate.
How's it like tower defense?
While you're waiting for peons to build you another boulder to roll you can purchase various roadblocks, anything from windfarms powered by cows running on hamster wheels to giant floating pirate ships that fire shots at your opponent, all with the intent to slow your opponent down, damage his boulder, or knock him off the ramp.
How's it like skeeball?
Well, you're a giant ball rolling down a ramp, so yeah. You may kind of worry about getting into a deadlock against your opponent with each of your roadblocks completely cutting off the other's progress, but it actually doesn't work that way. Each round usually only takes about three boulders or 5-10 minutes. The defenses that you can build are actually fairly ineffective, but can make the difference between victory and defeat as every second counts in getting inside the enemy castle.
Hilarious Artistic Style
One part of what makes this game so great is the bat-shit crazy aesthetic and artistic style. It's absolutely hilarious. Before each map you are introduced to your opponent via a short cinematic in which characters communicate by various grunts and groans and pull from classical art styles and then animate them to bring them to life. A lot of them are laugh-out-loud funny. Seeing Napolean riding his valiant steed only to realize it's the type of bouncing horse that kids can ride in front of K-Mart is a great example. The style is great and the graphics hold up the style and look pretty nice.
The Music Ain't Bad Either
The final aesthetic that makes the game great is the music. As you move through different ages you get corresponding classical music. Atlus has actually done a great job of getting legitimate classical music and it actually adds to the experience quite a bit. Even though the ramps don't look anything like cities, that is where they are supposed to take place and the music helps create this atmosphere. It also adds to the overall craziness of the game, as success won't grant you some giant groups of trumpets heralding your victory, rather it's a giant fart sound as your boulder squashes your enemy.
What About Multiplayer?
Although the campaign, skeeball, and time trial modes are all good fun, the online multiplayer is lacking. When I say lacking I mean lacking people to play against. It's probably pretty easy to understand since this is a fairly obscure game and the multiplayer is not the number one feature, but it's still a shame. I wouldn't recommend this game for just anyone, but those who are willing to experiment with weird games may just have a blast.