So this week I wasted my time with Rock of Ages, a game that came out back in September that I wanted to grab…and then it just slipped my mind. But online service Steam was doing a sale last week, so I just thought "Why the heck not?" and I’ve got to say that I wasn’t disappointed.
The story behind Rock of Ages is that Sisyphus, being tired of pushing his boulder up the hill forever, decides to instead use it to smash through the gate of Tartarus and escape back into the world of the living. Free from death and having yet again outsmarted the gods, Sisyphus now travels though history to five different eras of artistic importance and battles with the historical figures in these time periods.
Rock of Ages parodies many of the figures and art styles from these different eras in some very humorous ways. For example, the opening cinematic for the battle against Leonidas has him shouting "This is Sparta!" and kicking Sisyphus into the pit, only for him to have kicked too hard so that Sisyphus lands on the other side of the pit and starts to mock Leonidas. The game is filled with funny little moments like this and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The gameplay of Rock of Ages is like tower defense meets Marble Madness. Both sides have giant boulders that must be rolled down symmetrical hills in order to smash into the opposing force’s base. After smashing into the opponent’s base, the player must wait for a new boulder to be made and are given a certain amount of money depending on how well they did.
Players use this money to buy more defenses to slow or damage the boulder before it can hit the base again. The whole idea is to do as much damage as possible as fast as possible so that you can break through the gate first and then crush the enemy. The premise is simple yet fun with an underlying touch of strategy. I even like to use fans to slow the enemy boulder and then place catapults nearby to hit it while it’s slowed.
To go along with the ridiculousness of the story, Rock of Ages has some hilarious graphics as well. All of the characters in the game are represented by famous paintings of them. The developers basically took these paintings and set them up with joints like those shadow puppets we all used to make as kids (and now I find myself making paper hand puppets when I’m supposed to be writing a review. I get distracted easily, lol). The style fit surprisingly well and doesn’t come across as an attempt to cheap out on the graphics of the game.
The audio of Rock of Ages is incredibly appropriate for the style of the game. Characters don’t often speak (expect for daVinci, that guy just doesn’t shut up) and communicate in grunts and yells instead.
One of the funniest moments in Rock of Ages is that when breaking down the door of an enemy castle, the opponent will scream in an incredibly shrill and high pitched voice while flailing around until you crush them with your boulder. Add in horns to sound attacks and screams from running over people and the audio in Rock of Ages is sure to have you laughing.
All of these great ideas and features come together to create an amazingly fun and addicting game that I must recommend everyone buy.
With a $15 price tag and tons of fun (because it’s got boulders…get it! Oh never mind) Rock of Ages easily earns itself a perfect 5 out of 5 GiN Gems!