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Rock of Ages – This is not Sisyphean

rock-of-ages-02Sisyphos had grown bored of it, had an idea and flung his rock at Hades. Broadly, this is the story in the First Chapter of the alternative history book of Rock of Ages. Even this basic idea is a flash of genius, and I still didn’t told you about the grotesque gameplay sparing no one and nothing. Even Leonardo da Vinci would enjoy it, not to mention the three hundred Spartans.

Nowadays, I substantially set indie games before the AAA categorized products from the conveyor belts of an industry investing and getting millions of dollars into and from lifeless games with zero innovation and value. The good indie developers must accomplish to satisfy the income-hungry publishers, so they have to show all their boldness in their games. ACE Team is an excellent example for this direction: In 2009 its Zeno Clash overshot the mark, and I mean it in the good meaning. And it didn’t changed a bit in the case of this rock-rolling madness, which somehow got the category of action-strategy.

I already told you about the foundation of the story, and I hope I don’t have to explain names like Sisyphos or what we call a Sisyphean task. Let’s take a look at the gameplay instead, which is entertaining in itself. In the beginning of every level a short animation lets you know about the century, in which you have to roll that big rock. You get to know your enemy too: They can be anyone from Hades through Leonardo da Vinci to Napoleon. And of course, they try to roll another rock onto your half of the pitch. This videos are funny and grotesque. Nothing is sacred for the developers, not even Leonidas, “This is Sparta” for nothing.

rock-of-ages-04The rock is controlled by you. Left, right, brake and jump. The goal is to roll downhill, avoid harm and cause a lot of damage to the enemy’s objects, then in the end you need to smash the enemy gates and simply squeeze him to death. The rolling race has some spice, of course; the enemy has his rock too, so also your gate is in danger. To avoid defeat, you can build your defenses like cows and elephants pushing the rock away, guard towers blocking it, or you can shoot rockets at it from balloons, or you can detour it with wind-generating bellows and propellers… This is like tower defense, so we can call it a strategy. Of course, the actual enemy too has such defenses, so you have to roll carefully.

Luckily, the game doesn’t pour all opportunity of defense on you at once. With time you earn money, you can groom your rock (with fire or iron band, etc.) and build stronger defenses. A match goes until someone do the last roll at the gates. With some deftness you can do a level with one ball and you won’t break it into shivers or be pushed down by cows.

rock-of-ages-03The levels are diverse and each one has its own atmosphere. The scene is finely set, everything is in place to show the actual era. Antiquity, middle ages, renaissance, rococo – the Rock of Ages illustrates every age with artful exaggeration and grotesque scenery. The papier-maché opponents are enough to provoke a grin and give a genuine atmosphere to the whole game. Napoleon sits backward on a rocking horse, Spartan soldiers are numbered to 300, and the statue of David is shooting with a cannon. It’s like an inverse history lesson – when an unloved history lesson is classed by intelligent students joking all the way.

Rock of Ages worth more than 8 EUR, chiefly because it can be played on split screen and there are more game modes in the repertoire than just a campaign. If you would like to mix art and fun, and if you would like to give a good beat to some historical figures, then do it. Sometimes it’s not a Sisyphean task to roll a rock.

 —Somesz—

jaquette-rock-of-ages-pc-cover-avant-g-1313611150Title: Rock of Ages
Developer: ACE Team
Publisher: Atlus USA
Homepage: http://www.atlus.com/rockofages/
Style: indie, akció-stratégia

What I liked:
genuine idea

grotesque history
artful realization

What I didn’t like:
nothing

5_5

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