Review: Rock of Ages (Xbox Live)

By Wayne Webb

With a name like Rock of Ages I was not sure what kind of game to expect – could have been a music-based game, or perhaps one with religious overtones – but the answer is much, much simpler. It’s a rock and you roll it downhill hill through various opponents from history. It’s also loads of fun.

The concept is novel and the design is one I’ve not seen before in video games. The artwork is taken from the pages of history, starting with Sisyphus in Ancient Greece and working forward through the Ages to more modern times like the Renaissance. That artwork is then taken and expanded into a rendered 3D world around a slope that you will roll your rock down towards the enemy’s gate. The enemy’s gate is always down. The enemies themselves are also from history – but in flat paper cut-out style more like South Park than serious culture. Notable figures from history are represented; you may even learn something while playing.

So, you have a giant rock, and you roll it down a slope towards the enemy gate and then crash into it with all your might and momentum – attempting to break it down. It always takes three smashes minimum to break through and then you roll in and flatten your opponent hiding behind that gate. The path downwards is littered with obstacles and things designed to slow you down or even destroy your rock. At the same time that you are rolling inexorably towards your enemy, they do the same to you – either with an AI opponent – or a real one.

You can deliberately block up sections of your own trail with bombs, buildings, animals and wind machines all able to be located at key strategic points chosen by you to slow their roll and give you the timing edge on the three big slams into the enemy gate and victory.

It’s easy to learn, gravity is the engine, and you need to steer and strategise your attack and defence. Loads of fun, my kids got the idea straightaway and soon enough I was pushed aside and ended up watching the game from the couch, shouting strategy tips to my six year old who ignored me and just did what he wanted. What he wanted was to ignore the race element and destroy everything in sight

Pros: Novel concept, multiplayer version, unique design, funny and educational
Cons: Repetitive eventually,

4.5 Shacks out of 5