I must admit, before heading into Rock Of Ages 3: Make & Break, I had no idea what to expect. And after coming away from it, I have no idea what happened. But it is this which makes it fascinating – with a wacky sense of humour and a strange mix of tower defense and racing, it’s incredibly easy to see its appeal.
One needs only to look at the success of its predecessors to see this. Hopefully, ACE Team, Giant Monkey Robot and Modus Games can take all they have learned and implement it effectively into the full release. Rock Of Ages 3 offers a humorous, weird and all-round fun experience that will smash into your life on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC and Google Stadia come June 2020.
Usually, this is the part where I say “the game starts out fairly normally”. This cannot be said about Rock Of Ages 3. There are two central modes to it, Make & Break modes – I initially chose the latter due to its more interesting name. This gives you two further options, “Community Levels” and “Story”. Let’s start with the story.
The story hits you in the face with a mix of bright orange and an art style taken straight from Greek poetry. Rock of Ages has a wonderfully weird art style, reminiscent of Terry Gilliam and Monty Python as a whole. It all has a strange floaty animation to it, almost as if they’re puppets in a play. The music is annoying in an oddly triumphant and fitting way. The first level uses a rock loop of Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca. These stylistic choices fit the story very well.
Rock Of Ages 3 starts with the tale of Odysseus and Polyphemus, with plenty of creative license. After Odysseus and his crew eat all of Polyphemus’ food while he’s out, he traps them in his cave with the rock of ages. Try and guess what happens next. Are you ready? Odysseus ties a group of sheep together to make a large ball, big enough to move the rock of ages and secure their escape. This is where you gain control.
I think the biggest comparison I can make here is that of Super Monkey Ball, just with more verticality. You control a ball at the top of a hill and must control it through explosions, castles and other crazy obstacles until you hit the rock of ages at the bottom. A few solid taps and you are free. What is interesting are the comparisons between the actual story and Rock Of Ages. The stone itself is an oddly central item to the narrative and fits the game perfectly. After escaping, Polyphemus throws the rock at you, flinging your men onto the shore. This is where the second main type of game and the character, Elpenor, comes in. You, as Elpenor, must continue the story.
Rock Of Ages 3 then takes you to its tower defense mode, my personal favorite of the two. In this, you must defend your castle from rocks heading straight for you. You can earn gold by defeating rocks or by grabbing bags that land on the floor around the level. This gold can be spent on several pieces of equipment necessary for keeping those pesky rocks at bay. I eventually settled on filling the screen with as many items as both my PC and the game would let me. Needless to say, Polyphemus went home empty-handed and empty-mouthed. The game showed a multitude of levels from here including a possible reference to Jonah and the fish, and a fistful of Monty Python.
After perusing your way through the Break Mode, you absolutely don’t want to miss the “Make” mode. It offers a great level builder with plenty of customization options. It’s fluid and easy to use; perhaps the greatest addition to this is the implementation of the community. Communities in video games are a wonderful thing. Rock Of Ages 3, in a single click, has managed to achieve longevity far after its campaign.
Nonetheless, Rock Of Ages 3: Make & Break has made a rather large impression on me. It looks set to offer a fairly sizeable single-player mode, but the community is what will keep this alive after its release. The addition of community levels and multiplayer are very smart choices this time around and I can’t wait to see what Rock Of Ages 3: Make & Break does, upon release, later this year.
Huge thanks go out to Modus Games for giving us access to Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break on Steam ahead of launch on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC and Google Stadia later this year.