Review: Rock of Ages (XBLA)

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There are two things I love, the first being tower defense games, the second is Monty Python films. This game developed by ACE Team and published by Atlus, mixes both in a unique and quite fun way, let me introduce to you the Rock of Ages!
A title somewhat different than what we usually see from Atlus, this new game is worth it or will it end as one of those titles that you bought and at the end will not replay? I don’t think it’s the case with this entertaining game which is available to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.

Rock of Ages Logo

Story
As the story begins with our good Sysyphus which we know is a prisoner in Hades and pushing the rock up a steep hill for all eternity, if not..really guys? Come on! Read some books, wont hurt you!
Anyway, tired of having pesky and annoying devilings poke his ass with a fork, he plots to escape Hades with that same boulder he has been pushing for ages, brilliant, magnificent, and hmm kind of silly but hey it works!
Together with other souls who escaped from Hades, Sysyphus and his reliable boulder face new dangers as they flee away from hell, through five historical periods, from ancient Sparta to the medieval Europe and more.

Gameplay
Time to cut the cheese. If you have played games such as Mercury Hg, Monkeyball or Marble Madness, this is exactly what you get, a mixture of tower defense strategy with the gameplay from the listed games with unique results.
The objective is simple, use your boulder and avoid or destroy enemy defenses throught the map until you reach the enemy castle, destroy the gate and defeat the leader. Easy enough?
Here is where the tower defense factor kicks in, after your boulder reach the enemy castle, your men are carving a new one for the next round, during this time you get an aerial view of the map. Using a steering wheel you can choose your defenses and where to place them to defend your castle. Yes, the enemy also use boulders to defeat Sysyphus, if they get to him before you defeat the enemy, the level is lost.

Rock of Ages

There are three different game modes to choose from; War, this is the story mode featuring 23 different levels and 4 bosses to defeat. Time Trial, it’s self explanatory, you have to beat the level to earn Bronze, Silver or Gold. Without an enemy against you this mode is pretty much a race to the finishing line. SkeeBoulder, similar to time trial but here the goal is to destroy targets in your way to the finishng line, to obtain multipliers and to get a bigger score.
Visually, the game is exquisite. Mixing different styles of art, from the Greek art to the medieval art, as you progress through the different historical periods art of the characters and scenery evolves too.

All this and that “something” reminiscent of the Monty Python movies, including art and humor throughout the game, which gives it a nice flavor to Rock of Ages. Just like when the boulder falls from the edge yelling “AAAAAAAAAAAAAA~!” you can also select a different face for the boulder, from a lion, a funny face or even a smiley!
Co-op: Glad to see the developers decided to add both, offline and online multiplayer to the game. Offiline features a split screen and online you can challenge peolple over XBLA or the PSN (depends on your console) for total mayhem we can as well call “CoD: Boulder Warfare!” haha joking on that last comment, couldn’t avoid it.

Rock of Ages

Downsides
The tower defense factor is overshadowed by the fast pace of play, just like you jump and evade the defenses, so does your enemy. Rendering useless the time and gold spend in your defenses, making you feel it’s just a race against time to see who can finish and launch a boulder first.
Some levels have a difficulty which is more than you could wish, although the challenge is welcome, tends to be something that might discourage. Then again and looking at the bright side, who wants a game you can finish in a couple hours?
As funny as it is, gameplay turns out to be a bit repetitive after a while.

Rock of Ages

Overall
Definitely this is a great game with a very special sense of humor, especially if you like tower defense games with lots of strategy and even more if you love games such as Monkey Ball or Marble Madness. If this is the case this is a title you will crave for a long time. Most definitely a game that can be enjoyed with friends via online multiplayer which i believe is one of the strong points Rocks of Ages has to offer. With problems nonetheless, nothing to undermine gameplay and replay value, not a bad addition to your collection of games and it’s well worth 800 Microsoft Points.

We give the game an 8.5 out of 10

~Mario
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