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Rock of Ages II Review: Papa’s Gotta Roll

/ Sep 16th, 2019 No Comments

Rock of Ages II Review

History is full of remarkable battles, but little did we know the truth behind them. That was until Rock of Ages II came along. The truth is all of histories battles and wars have been settled with a giant boulder.

Rock of Ages II is a terrifically fun game with unique gameplay. While it has flaws, its humor and gameplay more than make up for them.

Anachronisms

Atlas’ journey began innocently enough, as all journeys begin, by being scared of Zeus out on the prowl. Seeing Zeus slithering around and spitting lightning from his mouth cause Atlas a great freight. This caused him to drop the world breaking up Pangea, but who among us hasn’t done that? Let ye who is without the sin of continental drift cast the first stone!

Rock of Ages II Review
History’s greatest victories came at the hands of a giant boulder.

Naturally, Atlas’ flub causes Zeus to become irate. He starts chasing down the titan causing him to run away, but not without taking his trust boulder with him. On the lamb, Atlas starts running into all sorts of trouble with other historical figures causing them to get into elaborate conflicts using giant boulders to settle them.

Rock of Ages II’s story isn’t intricately plotted or indecipherably dense. It is silly and fun with a lot of great jokes from the pre-battle intros. The simplicity and goofy nature of the story is what makes the game such a joy. Coupled with the great art style for these segments, you can’t help but smile or laugh.

Downhill

A rolling stone gathers no moss, but in Rock of Ages II a rolling stone will have you saying no mas! Gameplay in Rock of Ages II centers around breaking down the gate of your enemy’s fortress by ramming into it with a big boulder. It is both as simple as knocking down the door and squishing your foe, and much, much more complex.

Rock of Ages II Review
The story bits for Rock of Ages II are delightfully goofy.

Successfully smiting your opponents requires contending with a few elements outside of simply making it to your enemy’s gate to ram it. The major thing you’re going to have to contend with is the terrain. Each map is different meaning you’ll have to contend with shifting terrain as you aim to vanquish the opposition.

Early foes feature much more straightforward maps that require nothing more than to stay on the path to reach the opposing stronghold. This changes once you start facing tougher competition. Maps become trickier. Some feature massive gaps you have to jump across, while others feature more hazards to avoid and alternative paths to navigate for an advantage.

Rock of Ages II Review
Roll that boulder, young person!

The variety of maps results in a more dynamic gameplay because you’re consistently having to adjust your strategy for each new challenge. However, what makes the gameplay truly dynamic is the ability for you and your opponent to set up defenses to trip a boulder up on its way to the stronghold.

In many respects, Rock of Ages II is a tower defense. While you and your opponent both have to contend with the terrain, that alone will only slow you down so much. In order to keep your stronghold safe you need to thoughtfully place different traps along the path to your stronghold.

Each boulder has its own strengths and weaknesses, but every boulder is vulnerable to attack. The only way to ensure your leader is safe is to whittle away the health of the enemy boulder. By depleting a boulder’s health you can ensure they don’t make it to the goal or significantly weaken the damage they inflict.

Strategically placing offensive and defensive towers and traps in their rolling path opens up the opportunity to destroying their boulder. Before each match, you can choose whichever unlocked boulder and towers you have to create the best offense and defense.

Rock of Ages II Review
Reaching the enemy’s fortress is the main goal.

Every tower cost a different amount of gold to deploy, and there is a limit to how many towers you can select for each match. It is important to think about what combinations of towers would work best for the map and in conjunction with one another. Figuring out the best strategy and load out can be a bit of a trial and error.

While the gameplay is supremely unique, it isn’t without flaws. Sometimes the tower defense aspect seems a bit too easy to evade, which makes the effort of thoughtfully placing towers feel a futile at times. When this gets compounded with the boulder roll timer, sometimes matches are won simply by the boulder who rolls first.

Despite some flaws, Rock of Ages II is a lot of fun to play with a ton of modes to try out including online competitive.

Overall

Rock of Ages II is a weird game, but in the best way possible. It feels as anachronistic as its narrative because it doesn’t fit into a box. In terms of its gameplay it blends a few elements from other genres, but it is uniquely its own thing. It is the kind of thing you’d only get in the early eras of video games where there was still an air of unpredictability.

Rock of Ages II was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher.

 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs

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ROCK OF AGES II REVIEW: PAPA’S GOTTA ROLL

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall72%

GAMEPLAY7

Gameplay in Rock of Ages II is delightfully unique, but it does suffer at times from matches feeling simply like waiting your turn.

GRAPHICS7

Rock of Ages II features a great art style that mimics the time period of the historical figure, which makes for a lot of fun visuals.

SOUND7

The music is a joy and adds to the lighthearted nature of the game.

STORY8

The goofy story bits in Rock of Ages II are a highlight and a treat to watch.