review
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POSTED 9/9/11


ROCK OF AGES

Atlus
Xbox 360/XBLA (also on PS3/PSN, PC)

[Insert feeble gag involving the identically-named musical here, possibly mentioning huge tracts of hair...] Yes Rock of Ages the game has nothing to do with Rock of Ages the musical. Duh. But it is fucked... in a good way.

This is mental, and it’s loveable for it. Take lashings of Terry Gilliam-esque cut-out animation, strap it to a mish-mash of game mechanisms purloined from Marble Madness, Katamari Anything, Rampart and every other tower defence thing ever, and you get a disarming beastie.

It’s a trip (in many ways) through five classic time periods, as you become Syphilis – we’re sorry, we’ll read that again - Sisyphus, a Greek mythology king stuck rolling a ball uphill only to have it roll down again – rinse, repeat. Actually, more precisely you’re his ball, in what could be described as a third-person roller.

You erect defences involving everything from various levels of castle-like castley things to delightfully bovine protectors – yep, you get to fetchez la vache - to hinder your opponent’s attempts (console or human) at ensmashenating your door and smushing you, whilst you assail their door aiming to squelch them, usually following a squealy whiny bitch routine.

Your rollin’ rollin’ rollin experience ain’t no cakewalk, as it isn’t just opposing battlements that cause grief, but increasingly confuddling terrain, much of which is scarcely navigable before memorising repeatedness kicks in.

Interstitials are funny, as is the use of sounds and music. Gaming bits are seriousnessmenter, and as much as they’re quite uniquely derivative, frustrations frustrate. We’re not super au fait with boulder rolling physics, we admit, but these seem about as controllable as a Volvo with square wheels, screaming “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” upon yet again plummet doomwards.

A short, sharp, shock of silliness, Rock of Ages does, appropriately, kinda rock. But it needs more hair.

take me back to the start...

 



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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2017. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.