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Rock of Ages Review

Rock of Ages Review

Chilean independent studio ACE Team is a relative newcomer to the scene but they had made a name for themselves with the release of Zeno Clash on the PC in 2009 and the Xbox Live Arcade Ultimate Edition version in 2010 thanks to their partnership with Atlus' North American branch. Their one defining feature is developing games that are quirky, unusual and incredibly stylish that aren't like anything else on the market. This development style carries on into their latest title, Rock of Ages, which provides a humorous spin on various classical art movements while incorporating a unique mixture of the tower defense and real-time strategy genres. And surprisingly enough, it works for the most part.

Rock of Ages Review (3)

Rock of Ages starts out with a humorous cut-scene that involves the Greek mythological figure Sisyphus. For those who haven't brushed up on their Greek mythology recently the legend goes that he was forced to push a boulder up a hill by hand only to see it roll back down again and again in an endless process for all eternity. Of course this would make for an incredibly boring premise for a video game so ACE Team have shaken it up by having Sisyphus decide to use the giant rock against, well, everyone. This decision is incredibly amusing as the player is pitted up against numerous historical and artistic greats.

To play up the historical angle the developers created a unique 3D world that has the non-playable characters appear as 2D cutouts. The game also includes some incredibly amusing cut-scenes between each stage which appear in a pop-up storybook like format, with some even referencing common Internet jokes such as the Sparta scene from 300. All in all it's an amusing take on classical art history that keeps the premise but modifies it for a video game and really helps to keep the player entertained. Not to mention, the Rock of Ages doesn't just stay in the classical Greek period as it switches between multiple classical time periods throughout the length of the game's single player story mode.

Rock of Ages Review (2)

Each level in Rock of Ages is split into two continuous phases: offense and defense. During the offensive phase you guide your boulder towards your opponent's castle gate while keeping it on the track and evading the traps your laid down by the enemy – unless you want to destroy them, of course. During the defensive phase in which your workers are creating a new boulder you set the same traps your enemy set for you in an attempt to keep them from hitting your castle's gate. These phases occur in real-time so if you want you can stay in the defensive phase while your opponent's boulder is traveling towards your gate to stop them in their tracks or you can immediately go into the offensive phase and forgo setting up elaborate traps in an attempt to crush your opponent's gate early on in the match. It's a great design choice that lets the player decide how they want to play the game instead of forcing them to bend to the developer's whim.

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