Game of the Week: Rock of Ages

Well, for those who don’t know much about me, you can probably tell by the games I represent on a weekly basis that I love the quirky, the weird, the odd-ball wall flower that’s gathering dust in the corner of your high school gym locker – so you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m a massive Monty Python fan. Give me Terry Gilliam and John Cleese and I will probably love that movie/show. Now why do I say this, well, I stumbled upon a game today that harkens me back to my youth watching The Holy Grail and The Meaning of Life, and it’s name is:

Rock of Ages by Atlus Games

Now what exactly is Rock of Ages? Well, let’s see – take a game like Katamari – throw in some tower defense style gameplay, and then lay on top of it the quirky animation styles and rambunctious humor akin to something you’d see out of a Monty Python animation and you’d have Rock of Ages. It’s a time-traveling, boulder smashing, tower defense game with style – and lots of it!

The object is that every level – you have an opponent, and you are to roll your ball down to the opponents gate as fast as you can in attempt to break it. The opponents job is to try and stop you by placing up barracks, explosives, soldiers, catapults, and even cows within your path to slow your momentum. You alternate turns rolling toward each others gate, and the first person to break through the door and roll over their opponent wins. If that doesn’t sound interesting and fun, well then you sir [ or madame ] have very little humor in your life and I shall dub thee a ninny!

For those about to ROCK – We will CRUSH you!

Rock of Ages takes you on a pseudo-historical lesson while you smash into the masses, but what’s great about Rock of Ages is that it’s highly accessible to multiple players. There are a lot of aspects that they got right during the development that pose a strong case towards an accessible game.

Here’s how the accessibility breaks down:

Pros:

  • All cinematics are pantomime w/ minor voice mumbles, and if characters do speak it’s in text format – plus all rules and tutorials are given in text format. Perfect for deaf gamers.
  • Simple controls make the game easy to pick up and control.
  • Tutorials are simple and informative.
  • Visual symbolism is heavy in this game making it easier for deaf gamers.
  • Colorblind gamers shouldn’t have a problem with this game. All color tones seem to balance.
  • Options of movement inversion, and a Southpaw setting for left-handed.
  • Tower-defense setup isn’t timed and so you can take as much time as you need to prepare your battlefield. A definite plus for motion-impaired gamers.
  • HUD displays are easy to see and understand how to use.
  • If you fall off the track, an auto return action occurs placing your boulder in play.

Welcome TO THE JUNGLE! We got LOTS OF PAIN!

Cons:

  • Motion-impaired gamers may have some issues steering via console – sticks tend to be a bit less sensitive – often causing boulder to fall during harsh turns in track.
  • No option for stick sensitivity changes on console ports [ unsure of Steam version ]
  • Text can be a tad small and unreadable in some cases for vision impaired gamers.
  • Tower defense setup requires use of multiple buttons across controller, so it makes setup much harder for one-handed or motion impaired.
  • Boulder is able to begin travel before your setup phase ends – so if you take longer than comp. opponent it can cause issues for your overall game.

One Boulder to Rule Them All! History has met it’s match…

Overall though this is a quirky, out of the box, little gem of a game and I think anyone who loves history, Monty Python style animation, and just flat out loves to smash things – should definitely check out this wonderfully odd-ball smashing tower-defense game. You can pick it up on PSN, XBLA, and Steam if you’re a PSN Plus member you can get Rock of Ages for FREE, but otherwise, I believe it’s 800 Microsoft Points for XBLA, and on Steam for $ 10. I can’t imagine that the PSN purchase price would be any more than that either – so GO FORTH my MINIONS!

Wreck your ball into the chronicles of history to be forever enshrined with the happiness that is Rock of Ages!

 

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