Rock of Ages II Review
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher/Developer: ACE Team/Atlus USA, Sega
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
The goofy, surreal and sometimes hilarious Rock of Ages series returns with more of its unholy blend of marbles and tower defense. The game begins with an exposition explaining who you are and what you’re doing. Rather than Sisyphus, eternally rolling a boulder up a hill, you are now Atlas, who accidentally drops the globe from his back and picks up a boulder by mistake. For some unexplained reason this means you must battle various historical figures with huge boulders to batter down their castle gate, crush them and dance on their flattened corpse. As the campaign progresses, you and your pet rock will travel across Europe and into North Africa to battle various historical figures, from the likes of Richard the Lionheart and Joan of Arc. There are even appearances by painter Vincent Van Gogh and the title character from Munch’s famous painting, The Scream. Your read that correctly, you are about to roll giant rocks into a castle in order to kill a painting. Between battles you’ll roll your boulder down the road, collecting items along the way which will add new defensive units like walls, or sticky cows that will slow down your opponent’s boulder. The further along you get, the more absurd the items become, introducing elephants and giant windmills and huge springs.
Each mission begins the same, giving you a short time to set up your defenses against enemy boulders. This is accomplished by arranging defensive units, mainly the aforementioned obstacles, in your enemy’s path. Once finished, you start your own attack rolling a huge rock down increasingly complex courses, avoiding enemy defenses and striking their fortress. The winner is the first one to break down their enemy’s gate and crush them to death with their boulder. As your boulder progresses you accrue gold, which increases based on the enemy defenses you smash along the way. If you are victorious, you receive a star and reveal new map sections. Fail to acquire enough stars and you will end up repeating battles. Visually, it’s surreal, Monty Python-esque visuals with recreations of the art style of the eras each “enemy” is from. It’s incredibly unique and sometimes hilarious. Indeed the art-style is better than it has any right to be in such a silly, silly game.
Bottom line, if you like surreal humor, crushing things and have a taste for originality, Rock of Ages II might be just the thing. The quirky art style is imaginative and there is genuine humor. The campaign does start to drag on though, particularly when repeating courses. It a worthy addition to many libraries but probably not a long term favorite.