How would I describe Rock Of Ages? Well its tower defense mixed with tower offense mixed with Monty Python. Yeah when I'm playing this game I feel like I'm watching something straight out of Monty Python with its cartoon graphics and style. It provides a lot of fun but some frustrations as well
Atlus describes the game as being "tower offense" and in a way it is. The objective of the game is to roll your rock down a winding slope enough times to break through the doors of your opponents castle and kill their general. The twist is that your opponent is doing the exact same thing on a track identical and opposite of yours so time is of the essence. After each roll there is a cooldown period before you can roll your rock again so you'll want to start building defenses on your slope including animals that will push your opponents rock off the track, towers that will slow down your opponents rocks progress, catapults that can destroy rocks and more. Setting up defenses is fun but you will also need money to do so. Money is earned by destroying towers, homes and rolling over people on your opponents track. Timing is critical because before you know it your opponent will be rolling down your track again and you will quickly have to roll your own rock to catch up.
Rolling your rock down your opponents track is fun for the most part but it's marred by somewhat unforgiving controls. I'm not sure if they were trying to emulate the physics of an actual rock rolling down a hill but trying to make sharp turns is almost impossible. The game tells you to pick up as much speed as possible so you can do more damage to your opponets castle gates but when it comes time to make a sharp turn you will often find yourself flying off the track while trying to turn. It seems like your rock has to come to almost a complete stop before being able to turn completely stopping your momentum. I find its better to just completely ignore what the game tells you and to roll down the track at a steady speed. It worked for me at least. The other problem is that even when you are slowly rolling, a hit from an enemy catapult can suddendly send you flying off the track. If you can get past these minor annoyances the game is really fun.
The meat and potatoes of the game is its single player campaign. The story mode has short cartoony cutscenes where your player is sentenced to an eternal hell of rolling a rock up a hill yet every time he tries, the rock rolls back down to the bottom. He then realizes that he can roll the rock down the hill, break the gates of hell and escape back to earth. Once back on earth he goes through different time periods eliminating famous historical figures including Vlad The Impaler, Napoleon, Leonidus and more. You'll start in ancient Greece and move through the middle ages, Rococo and more. The end of each time period will also feature a boss battle. The boss battles arent that tough however as you only need to hit them three times and the cutscene before the battle tells you where to hit. Its a simplistic campaign mode. you get a short and usually funny cutscene before each battle but other than that there really isnt much of an elaborate story. The cutscenes last 20-30 seconds at the most and dont really serve much purpose other than comic relief. This isnt a bad thing however as the single player is fun and the difficulty increases with each opponent.
The game does feature other game modes. Time Trial is exactly what you would expect. Roll your rock down the track and get the fastest time possible. Nothing really more to say about that. There is also a Skeeball mode where you get three turns to crash into obstructions to earn points along with flying your ball into a giant Skeeball scoring board at the end. Your scores for all three rounds are added up and that is your high score. The third is obstacle course where you race against another player to be the first one to roll down a track FILLED with various obsctuctions to the finish line. The serve as fun additions to the game that you can play without having playing the storyline. They can be played against the AI or against a friend. These game modes are fun but are better played with friend. The Multiplayer features all the game modes from the single player that can be played both offline and online.
*NOTE* Unfortunately due to internet connectivity issues I was unable to try the online portion of the game. If the situation is taken care of, I will add a description of online to the review. The lack of online does is NOT reflected in the final review score.
With all that being said, Rock Of Ages is a weird but fun take on the tower defense genre. It is fun, it is humerous, itis challenging, and it keeps you on your toes and its lengthy enough to provide hours of fun for its $10 price. Even if you find the single player campaign too challenging, you can always spend many hours playing the games other modes. The Skee-Ball game was my favorite. Sure the game does have some control issues and the frustration of flying off the track can be discouraging but not discouraging enough that it isn't worth your time and money. If you've got $10 to spare and like tower defense you should absolutely check out Rock Of Ages.
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