by July 24, 2020 @ 11:26 am
Reviewed on Switch
There aren’t enough ball-rolling games around. Personally, I miss the Katamari series. Then there’s that other series where you roll a ball. You know the one. Okay, I’ve got nothing. See? There really aren’t enough games where you get to roll a ball around a map. Thankfully, Rock of Ages 3: Make and Break not only scratches that particular itch — it exceeds expectations and provides a genuinely wholesome and surprisingly varied experience that’s about more than just rolling a giant boulder and smashing environments with it.
That said, there’s a lot of that, too, and it’s pretty sweet.
Roll Your Boulder Through History
Rock of Ages 3: Make and Break is set before a historical backdrop. The game’s levels and story mode take you through various periods of ancient history. Make not mistake — the crux of this game is to have you rolling a boulder through challenging obstacle courses. That said, the game’s cheeky take on the Roman Empire, mythology, and other historically-based themes makes for a fun time.
Story mode in particular is like a comically-charged revisionist trip back in time. You’re treated to Monty Python-esque character cutouts and humorous vocal gags. There’s a weird roughness to the game’s cutscenes that gives it a sense of style. Seeing a bunch of dudes attempting to kill Caesar and fail — and then ultimately getting smashed by a giant statue — is hilarious, and it really could’ve only worked with this game’s art style.
Comedy aside… Actually, the levels in story mode are pretty comedic, too. If you’ve never played the series before, Rock of Ages 3 is as good a place as any to start. You’ll play through the various modes in the different levels that make up the story. For the most part, each mode is some variation of roll-the-ball/crush-the-things/reach-the-finish line. Of course, there are some differences.
War, for example, has you playing against an AI-controlled enemy. Here you’ll roll your rock through trap-filled obstacle courses that are made up of twists, turns, and pitfalls. The goal is to tear through the enemy’s defenses and storm the rival base by breaking through the door. This takes a few tries as doors are typically reinforced.
When you’re not rolling, you’re putting together traps and obstacles of your own for your enemy to deal with. You have access to walls, turrets, and giant bulls that can both slow down your opponent and cause some serious damage. You’ll want to destroy the enemy boulder, but if you can’t quite do that, you’ll at least want to slow it down long enough for you to get your offense in. This tower defense gameplay is a huge departure from all the ball-rolling, but it makes for an interesting and functional dichotomy.
The other modes in Rock of Ages 3 help keep things from ever getting stale. Race is exactly what it sounds like: a race through an obstacle course against an AI enemy. Obstacle lets you play through a big, dangerous course without the tower defense mechanics. Time trial mode challenges you to finish a course as quickly as possible. There are more modes in Rock of Ages 3, but the main concept is simple: roll, smash, destroy, and try to keep your boulder from breaking.
Make, Break, and Then Just Keep Breaking
In all honesty, if all Rock of Ages 3 consisted of was the story mode, I would still be sold on it. You can get through this mode in about three or four hours, but with so many unlockable levels — each with their own lists of challenges — it’s easy to sink a dozen hours into it.
But Rock of Ages 3 isn’t just about the story mode. The game also includes a creation mode where you can put together your own levels. The editor is pretty deep and allows you to build a path for your obstacle course, as well as add different features, dangers, and landmarks. The tools available to you in the editor are robust, and you’ll be limited only by your own imagination.
If you’re less of a creator but really want to dig into some extra content, you can play other folks’ creations. Obviously, quality varies across user-made content, but already there are a lot of great original stages to check out that are sure to keep you busy for a very long time.
When you’re feeling competitive, Rock of Ages 3 also lets you take on other players. Unfortunately, I found it increasingly difficult to jump into online matches with other players in the Switch version of the game, which was kind of a bummer.
There’s a whole lot of fun to be had with Rock of Ages 3. The ball-rolling, base-destroying, and tower defense mechanics all work really well. You might encounter a bit of physics-based jankiness from time to time, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Rock of Ages 3: Make and Break is just a straight-up good time whether your making or breaking.
Score: 8 out of 10
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