Three years ago, ACE Team went bigger and boulder when they released Rock of Ages 2. It was the sequel to their crazy Super Monkey Ball tower defense like game where you roll a boulder through stages to try to destroy your opponent’s castle all the while listening to humor that sounds like it came straight out of Monty Python film. While it was better than the first game the developer evidently felt like more could still be done with this IP as they are back with Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break. Does the third entry continue the franchises improvement or is this boulder destined to just roll right off the cliff?
Immediately upon getting into the game I noticed just how much more this game offers over the second game. There is an expansive new campaign, two-player split-screen support, four-player online multiplayer, multiple different modes to play, a level editor, and an option to play levels created by others in that level editor. Rock of Ages 3 has a bigger cost of entry than the previous two entries but right away the sense of value was apparent to me. All of the modes are separated by an easy to navigate menu with the play modes being under the Break option on the main menu and the create modes being under the Make option.
I dove into the short tutorial right off to help refresh myself on the game and learn about new things as well. I then went on to the main campaign where you play as Elpenor who is a companion to Odysseus. As Elpenor you’ll travel across a map full of points in history and face off against famous and infamous figures from throughout time such as a Cyclops, Ceasar, and many more. Every point on the map that you visit can reward you with up to three stars and these stars are then used to unlock more nodes on the map as well as new defenses that you can then take back into levels you’ve already played before. If you haven’t played one of these games before the general principle is that once you enter a level you then take control of one of many different kinds of boulders and have to roll it through the level to destroy your enemy’s defenses and castle. The controls are simple enough so that anyone can enjoy playing this game as you just use the stick to control the boulder and make use of the jump button when you need it. That’s the basics but there are different modes and different objectives that will alter what you are doing.
One of those modes is called War where both you and your opponent will be alternating between rolling your boulders down the obstacle course to destroy the other’s gate and building up your defenses to prepare for the assault. Obstacle is another mode where you play through a couple rounds to see who can finish the course first while more obstacles continue to be added. Time Trial has you in control of a boulder armed with a fuse and you have to reach the end before it blows up. Avalanche has you defending your castle from an army of boulders while Humpty Dumpty has you trying to guide the fragile egg home while avoiding traps. Finally, there is Skeeball which is a three round mode and similar to the obstacle course mode. At the end of the course of each round though you have to get your boulder into one of the different holes that are all separated by a score. Whoever has the highest score at the end of the three rounds wins. The variety of modes you will be playing was really nice to see and it helped make it so that the campaign didn’t get too repetitive.
I didn’t even touch on the boss battles of which there are quite a few but I won’t spoil them as they should be experience blind. One of the only things about playing through the campaign that I didn’t like was that the AI was kind of inconsistent. Sometime they would be very tough to beat while other times they would just be a cake walk. The last thing I want to mention about the campaign is that you can play it with another player locally if you want. Just have them hit start on the main menu and take them with you into it. I played for a bit with my wife and the game ran well from everything that I saw.
Outside of the main playable modes we have one of the biggest new features and a much requested one by the community with that being the course creator. This creator is quite robust and I can see the community making some really cool stuff with it in time. You can make pretty much any kind of level you want although I did find the controls here to be a little cumbersome with the Dualshock 4. Once you stick with it though you’ll get the hang of it and be making your own obstacle courses, skeeball maps, and much more before you know it. Once you get your level to your liking you can upload it so that others can play it or play what others have made themselves. I played a few already that were made by the community that were pretty good. This will be where players will get the most replay value from out of this game and what’s better is that you can play them with up to four others online. I wasn’t able to find anyone online to play with prior to launch but I tried again here on launch day before finalizing this review and found two people. The online performance seemed to run smoothly but again I haven’t been able to put a ton of time into that part as of now. Time will tell how big a community this game gathers.
When it comes to the graphics and audio work Rock of Ages 3 delivers a mostly solid performance. The game is full of humor that constantly had me laughing to myself just as I would expect out of one of these games by now. The musical score is also full of remixed classical music that fits the wide range of time periods you’ll be playing through. The Monty Python like art style is just as quirky as ever but again if you didn’t enjoy this about the game before this game won’t change your mind. The last thing I’ll touch on is the trophy list which has a total of 22 trophies and for the first time a Platinum to earn. It’s a good list that will have you jumping into all the modes to unlock them all while providing a challenge such as the one for earning gold medals on all time trials.
Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break isn’t vastly different from prior entries but it is the biggest and best entry yet. It has the biggest campaign yet and has that same humor and charm we’ve come to expect from it. Better yet is that with a robust course editor finally you may never find yourself running out of courses to play and you can do so with others online or locally. The AI and editor controls can still use some work though and if prior entries didn’t grab your interest this one likely won’t either. For those who have enjoyed previously crashing their boulders through courses you’ll find a rocking good time here.
*Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break$29.99
- Has the biggest campaign yet with tons of humor and fun characters to meet
- Has a robust level editor that should keep new community maps coming well into the future
- Lots of fun modes to play solo or with friends locally/online
- Level Editor controls on console are cumbersome
- Enemy AI is inconsistent
- Won't convince those who weren't interested in the first two entries