There’s a giant Cyclops blocking your path, intent on devouring your crew of spry Grecian warriors for daring to enter his cave and feast on his food. There’s only one way out, but a giant boulder stands between you and a painful death. What do you do? What do you do man? If you’re intelligent, the answer is blindingly simple: You take all the sheep inside of that cave, tie them into a gigantic rock and chuck that bastard at the obstacle in front of you so that you can escape to victory. EASY!
And that’s just the opening of Rock of Ages 3: Make or Break. Part strategy that you can’t take for granite, part Sisyphus simulator, Rock of Ages 3 gets increasingly silly with each new level, while also tossing a few frustrating pebbles in your path as you seek to complete the journey of the titular boulder that is flung into various historical conflicts.
On the single-player side, this results in a series of obstacle courses. Each introductory animation is beautifully crafted in a manner that would make Terry Gilliam proud, while the meat and potatoes of your rolling stone tribute has you navigating a treacherous downhill trail, fraught with danger, obstacles and blissfully unaware wildlife. There’s a lot of heft to being the rock of ages, smashing your way through barriers and leaping past obstacles as you gather momentum, every seemingly minor dilemma eventually evolving into titanic labour as your speed increases.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a game of creation, tower defense as you seek to protect your various wayward wards from the horror of the rolling stones and I’m not talking about those seemingly immortal rockers with Vibranium kidneys. Here is where you’ll navigate around an obstacle course, spotting the best chokepoints to assemble walls, towers and other assorted defense mechanisms for your last stand against the rocky menace as the odds are seldom ever in your favour.
That game of tower defense is further bolstered by unique mini-games, with more being unlocked the further you climb up the Rock of Ages 3 level ladder. Annoyingly, there’s an element of luck at play here, with an additional chance of randomness that can ruin even the most carefully formulated plan due to sheer irregularities in the AI who can occasionally be duller than a rock quarry or sharper than a collection of stone age hunting gear. There also appears to be a few technical teething issues currently as I experience multiple crashes, although in this day and age such issues will have likely been patched out by the time I finish typing this sentence.
For a game that carries a banner of strategy proudly, Rock of Ages 3 leans a little too heavy on the wackiness of its setup, depriving the game of any real tactical depth. At the same time, that’s not why you should be playing Rock of Ages 3. More of a niche party game than anything else, there’s an absurd joy in its many animations, each one a loving tribute to Monty Python’s Flying Circus and yet wholly distinct from its source inspiration to exist as a wonderfully silly break between rounds of strategy gone comically awry.
Multiplayer matches that madness, and just a quick glimpse at the menu reveals that Rock of Ages 3 is going to see a lot of action on this front thanks to it having hundreds of options on tap. If the Rock of Ages community loved the multiplayer suite from the first two games, I’d wager my pickaxe that they’re going to easily find their groove with this expanded take on creating their own imaginative levels.
Last Updated: July 23, 2020