Developer: Modus Games | Publisher: ACE Team| Release Date: July 21, 2020 | Genre: Tower Defense/Arcade | Reviewed On PS4 Pro
The copy of Rock of Ages 3 used for this review was provided by the publisher.Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break is the third in the series by ACE Team, a Chilean game developer, which was founded by three brothers Andres, Carlos and Edmundo Bordeu. They started in game development doing Doom Total Conversions and worked on games such as the first person fighter series Zeno Clash that was well-received by critics and players. With Rock of Ages 3, you get a fun campaign, absurdist humor, and a level builder hence the subtitle Make (Level Builder) and Break (Campaign and multiplayer). The main Gameplay loop is the tower defense mode which allows you to place units such as raging bulls that toss you off the stage, lava traps that keep you in place, and even a lion on a balloon that’ll float you in mid-air. All of these defensive units stop or slow down your progress to destroy your rival’s base. The second part is the rolling phase where you navigate your rock through the enemy’s gauntlet of traps to destroy their castle door and eventually their castle. Before you begin each round, you get to select your units. Your choices include a variety of options from the titular Rock of Ages, which can be looked at as a Jack of All Trades, to a lightweight rock made of cows. Each rock has different attributes such as strength, speed, acceleration, damage, and weight. Besides the rock, you can select your defensive units which range from non-combat options such as banks that’ll net you some cashback during the defense phase, to lava that will trap enemy offensive units to buy your castle some time. The descriptors and stats only appear in this mode. An improvement that can be made is to have a tooltip appear when you highlight a unit much like in a MOBA or an RTS.
The tower defense mode has intuitive controls and the interface is easy to use, but due to it being a conversion, text, and notifications can be too small on a TV screen. A concession that can be made for this version would be to have larger notifications to let the player know a cooldown has finished. The Single Player component is the Story Mode which pits you against various historical, mythological, and fictional figures such as Julius Ceaser, The Cyclops from Greek Mythology, and even Moby Dick from Herman Melville’s tale of revenge. Progression is handled through stars that are earned by doing various tasks from the simple to something that requires higher skill such as achieving a perfect match. Multiplayer is done through a server browser and private matches. Matches are quick to get into but at the time of writing a bit sparse in terms of player count. You get six modes such as avalanche, and skeeball with the classic war mode being the headliner. The Make feature is a great addition that allows players to create levels and use them in multiplayer. You can sculpt the height of the terrain and add natural obstacles for the enemy. This adds the potential of limitless replay value. The levels are user rated so as time passes on more levels should be added to curation. The Graphics are no slouch being powered by something that needs no introduction, Unreal Engine 4. The game targets 60 Frames Per Second but does dip when there is a lot of chaos on the screen to as low as 30fps even on a PS4 Pro. The Monty-Python Esque puppets do shine here with some hilarious animations such as the onomatopeias when you fall off a stage. Each level in Story represents a distinct period in which each stage has a different motif from Greek Architecture to the posh artistry of The Italian Renaissance. The Presentation features the aforementioned Monty-Python inspired style and everything from the loading screens to the animations is solid. Music is appropriate with classical pieces going through the Greek and Roman segments of the game and the Indian music sounds groovy. There’s not much voice work to speak of except for the grunts during the cutscenes where the humor is firmly tongue in cheek. There are a few technical issues I came across during my initial playthrough. One such issue had the game crash to the PS4 menu when you exit from a match to go to the map menu. There were also some issues with the rock clipping through the back of the castle forcing a respawn. Hopefully, a title update will be available that will fix these issues on the console. In conclusion, Rock of Ages 3 Make & Break is a good game marred by a few technical issues. The cheeky humor, concept, and level editor are some of the high points and it’s a steal at $29.99.