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Rock of Ages II: Bigger and Boulder review

Have you ever heard of the game Rock of Ages? It was released way back in 2011 on Steam and featured crazy two sided gameplay where on one hand you need to build a path featuring Tower Defense structures and units to defend you keep, and on the other hand you play as a giant boulder trying to roll your way up to the enemies castle only to smash in the door and defeat a historical art creator. This may all sound crazy but it was a ton of fun. Now Atlus and SEGA are back and they are smashing in our door with a Bigger and Boulder sequel for the Nintendo Switch.

For those unfamiliar with the series. You basically roll down a path like you play Super Monkey Ball, with all kind of slopes, narrow pathways or jumps you need to pass before reaching the castle which you need to try and breach by rolling as fast as you can. The enemy will try to stop you by placing tower defense like structures like walls, cannons, traps or even cows just to try and stop or destroy you.

While you try to get through the gates of the enemy, the opponent will try the same on your own map. So inbetween rolling with your boulder you have to set up your own defenses to try and stop the enemy boulder. You can upgrade your own boulder, your structures and unlock new ones as time progresses and you rack in more points by slamming against the door of the keep. This combination of game modes results in hilarious and exciting matches that you can keep on playing and trying new methods that suit your play style.

Obviously, Rock of Ages doesn’t take itself seriously and its wacky story sequences definitely solidify that notion. They’re very reminiscent of the animated portions from Monty Python’s Flying Circus and will have you either laughing out loud or scratching your head while wondering just what the heck is going on. Whichever way you look at it, you have to admire the humour on display here.

All of the wacky scenes you will find in the campaign of the game that you can play solo or with a friend. Here you traverse a map of Europe where you come across al kinds of historical opponents with some memorable bosses inbetween. Playing the campaign unlocks extra structures that can be used in other modes and the campaign can be really fun, sadly it doesn’t take long before your already reach the end. Although replaying some bosslevels can be fun as they are really intuitive.

The other modes include ‘Game of War’ where you hold regular battles and ‘Obstacle Course’ which you can compare with a racing mode between boulders. There is also a time trial where you can beat the 15 different stages as fast as you can. Although you can play Game of War and Obstacle Course in multiplayer locally and online, we would have liked if the game had a few more mini-games where you can experiment with your boulder. Like launching him to a structure to deal as much damage as possible or something like that, but sadly you have to do with the three modes available and the relatively short campaign.

Visually the game is quite impressive. Where the campaign fixates itself on historical art creators, so does the level design resemble the art and paintings dating from that time. So every level you play seems coated with a little bit of history behind it. The sound quality is also well done, you can easily hear the different noises of the weight of the boulder rolling along the road, rolling over obstacles and smashing against the keep, all while a fun beat helps you along the way.

Playing the game with a friend is the best fun you can find in Rock of Ages II. You can play the entire game in a long weekend and have seen everything that there is to offer in less then 15 hours. But the replayability and online can add to the longevity. If you play it solo you could find it getting stale after a few sessions, so inviting a second player in the mix could help with that.

Rock of Ages II: Bigger and Boulder mixes two popular genres fantastically and features a hilariously weird campaign to boot. The fun sadly doesn’t last all to long, but with a good friend you can extend it for as much as you like.

8/10

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