Back in 2012, Atlus and ACE Team released a little PSN title by the name of Rock of Ages on the PlayStation 3 and other platforms. When I played this back then I rather enjoyed the gameplay of it which was a blend of Super Monkey Ball and tower defense. It also had the humor of something that you’d expect out of one of the Monty Python films. A sequel eventually was released a few years ago by Sega on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One but now Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder has rolled over to the Nintendo Switch. If any of what I’ve written so far sounds interesting to you then continue reading for my full thoughts on the game.
The story of Rock of Ages 2 focuses on the Greek figure Atlas who holds up the world only in this game he accidentally drops it causing a bit of a mess. With God now after him, Atlas flees and ends up facing off against other historical entities that you’ve probably heard of like Hercules and King Henry VIII and some you probably haven’t. Yeah the story is pretty crazy sounding but it’s honestly pretty amusing and charming especially the scenes that introduce each of the characters.
So you’re probably wondering still about that Super Monkey Ball and tower defense blend of gameplay I talked about above. Jump into the story mode in this game and you’ll get to see exactly how that works. Each level puts you against an AI opponent with the goal being to destroy their Headquarters with your giant boulder. The Monkey Ball comparison comes from the fact that you control your boulder and roll it down the map while trying to avoid your enemies obstacles. Get your boulder to the end and ram it into the enemy’s base to deal damage and eventually win. The enemy will be trying to do the same thing to you though and that’s where the tower defense comes in. Each player has a phase at the start where they pick their boulder and where they get to place various obstacles, defenses, weapons, etc in order to attempt to slow down and stop the opposing players boulder. Item placement controls felt good to me as did the controls for controlling the boulder itself. The physics systems are well done too as you’ll witness as you smash into things and cause them to fly in all kinds of directions.
As you play through the story mode you’ll travel to quite a diverse set of locations. Each map I played on felt unique and provided different obstacles I had to prepare for and overcome. As you progress you also continue to unlock new items to place on the maps, new characters and even new boulders. Stars are another thing you earn as you play and these allow you to face off in boss battles. These help to break up the normal gameplay and each one has their own special gameplay feature you’ll have to learn but they are so easy that they are pretty disappointing.
How easy you may ask? So easy that the chances of you failing them are almost zero no matter how bad at the game you are. I don’t see the point in making boss battles in your game if there is zero challenge to them. The only other problem I really had is that the core gameplay loop does get repetitive over time but that also fits nicely into being on the Nintendo Switch. You can easily load it up, play through a map or two and then close it and come back for more later. I just don’t think it’s a game best suited for long play sessions but you can decide that for yourself.
When you finish the story mode you can jump into some of the other modes on hand. Time Trial mode lets you race to get your boulder to the end in the fastest time possible with no obstacles in your way. It also has online leaderboards so you can compete against other players times. Obstacle Course let’s you race against an AI or another player to see who can avoid the obstacles and get to the end first. You can also play these modes online with support for up to four players. I had issues finding people to play against though so keep that in mind if you are buying this for the online modes. Local multiplayer support is here too and I honestly had a ton of fun with this playing with my family. I found it much more fun racing against my son than the AI.
Visually the game is quite pleasing to look at and the art style used helps make the game look great even on the Switch’s handheld screen. The backgrounds and animation in this game really surprised me with how beautiful they were. I did notice that the game had frame rate issues at times though like when a lot of things move at the same time on the screen. The soundtrack and voice acting in the game were both solid as well so no complaints there.
Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder still has that fun mix of platforming, racing, and tower defense that I liked about the original but it doesn’t feel that much bigger and different from it. The boss battles in this felt unnecessary with how easy they were and the gameplay gets a bit boring in longer play sessions. I really liked the writing and art though and in short bursts I find the gameplay to be quite fun. If you were a fan of the first one and just wanted more you’ll likely enjoy this. If you didn’t play the first one and are a fan of any of these genres this one is perfect to jump into.
*Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by Sega for this review.