Steam Sales are fantastic things. I mean, sure, they’ve left me with a virtual backlog that beggars belief, and they’ve made me give companies money for some truly questionable bits of software, but they’ve also made me take a chance on some games that I thought looked neat but couldn’t justify buying at full price what with the whole backlog thing.
Rock of Ages is one of those games, and it’s one that I would feel no shame about if I’d shelled out the full price for. Which is, by the way, a modest 10 bucks.
It’s sort of a bizarre combination between a tower defense game and Marble Madness, though far less rage inducing than Marble Madness ever was. You could think of it as a racing game, maybe? It’s difficult to put into a genre.
The gist of it is, you play as Sisyphus – no, really – who’s grown tired of rolling a boulder up a hill over and over again and who realizes that, hey, I have this giant boulder and nobody’s going to stop me using it to bust out of hades. With your giant boulder, you, well, you roll down hills throughout various periods in classical art, crushing guys in environments inspired by, say, Rococo design or a Goya painting, culminating in trying to break into a castle and crush one of 20-odd adversaries. When you’re not rolling, you’re putting up towers and trebuchets and deploying cow soldiers designed to hinder your opponent who is trying to break into YOUR castle and crush you.
It’s very educational. I didn’t know who “Goya” was before I played this game.
It’s one of those games where someone had a solid idea of some gameplay mechanics and then someone decided to take a quirky art style and run with it. There are a couple of levels where the difficulty spike is enough to make me see red – just a little red, mind you, not Meat Circus levels of red – but apart from that it’s sheer joyful fun, and even with those levels it doesn’t outstay its welcome. It clocked in at 5 hours to beat, with some multiplayer modes I really haven’t examined.