Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break Review
Sometimes you just want to become a giant rock and destroy things, which is exactly what Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break delivers, and more. If you want anything more than that, well, then that is where things get rocky. This tower defence/racing/level creator is lean and mostly tasteless throughout its various modes.
A campaign is needlessly inducted that feels more like a tutorial than a narrative. You are a part of a Greek group who are sailing around the globe, facing against mythological entities like Posedian or legendary historical icons like Julius Caesar. It is told with Sims-like gibberish and visual storytelling with adolescent humour that goes from eye-roll inducing to slightly amusing. As the rest of it falls into the shadows to let the gameplay speak up.
Each level consists of three to five modes, some more than others, that are unlocked through stars. Each level offers a set amount of stars that are often between one to three, with the occasional generic bonus objectives like withstanding a certain amount of damage. Gather enough to advance around the world from Greece to China among other countries as you explore their various mythologies in the most shallow of ways.
The modes have a surprising range, which I will not detail all to keep you surprised with some fun ways to play. The base of it all centres around your selection of a boulder, which can be a giant rock with a face or an overly inflated cow (please don’t fat shame the bovine). You must destroy the enemy base and avoid various obstacles from catapults to launch pads. On the flip side, you must place your defences to prevent your castle from being breached in a tower defence style. Both ends of the spectrum are delightfully chaotic.
Another main game mode throughout is Avalanche, which strictly sticks to a more familiar style of tower defence as you don’t control a giant rock. Just survive hordes of boulders that constantly destroy your defences. Gather gold, which irritatingly sometimes is unresponsive when you grab it, to spend on more obstacles. It gives a different flavour compared to the attacking position while equally as enjoyable as it satisfies the other side of Rock of Ages‘ primary premise.
The races range from going against another giant rolling object or against the time. The difficulty is all over the place as I would decimate my opponent, or the AI would be miles ahead of me.
Boulders are unique with various stats, but due to plenty of drawbacks, I was not compelled to use many of the wide range of offerings. Regardless of the choice, most of the rocks and/or animals feel the same, with some exceptions like the challenging Humpty Dumpty. Overall, it is accessible, with it being relatively easy to steer while having a skill ceiling for pros to reach.
Levels are cleverly designed that add more depth to the gameplay across platforming and dodging explosives. It shines even brighter in the level creator, which is accessible, even for a talentless fool like myself. Playing other people’s levels is far better than the developer made ones in the campaign. It breathed life into my experience as the campaign was becoming duller and duller.
One issue with the level design was the checkpoint system when falling off the map. Going off course drops you right back where you started, which can be problematic as it does not give you enough room to get over a jump. Other times the placement would put me next to or on top of a trap, pushing me off the edge yet again.
Destroying objects scattered throughout the course is simple yet satisfying. Seeing buildings crumble or ploughing through traps does not get old.
The graphics are stylistic, but not in an attractive way. The mix of 3D, used in the actual gameplay, and the 2D animations in the cartoony cutscenes don’t mix well. While playing looks passable, the drawings do not. I understand the decision, but it does not work here compared to other games with that hand-drawn style. At least the historical influences are a boost to the aesthetic as you traverse the world.
If one element were to take the MVP title it would be the music. A symphonic rock soundscape that draws upon other surprising influences feels out of place but works in a confusing way.
I did not run into too many technical issues, it was impossible not to ignore. The first level after the tutorial was broken as I would break down the enemy door and nothing would happen. The only way I won was falling through the floor and the game gave me my victory. The only other glitch came when I started and spawned out of bounds.
Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break has some substance for level creating junkies would want. Gather some buddies and play through one another levels as you rock out to the music. The premise works with its enjoyable modes, other than that, it is full of inconsistencies and lackluster offerings.
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