Previewing Chilean developer ACE Team’s new Rock of Ages title has been a relaxing alternative to the chaotic reality of life as everything around me has been shaken up by the current Coronavirus pandemic and the changes to how my day to day is concerned. Simply put, rolling a giant boulder down a path and crashing it to a gate has never been this relaxing, especially after tackling two intense games like Resident Evil 3 and Doom Eternal.
The premise behind these games is downright ridiculous. You play as a number of historical figures who get somehow roped into putting together a boulder and rolling it in order to solve whatever troubles they are facing, or possibly defending themselves from them coming into and breaking things up on their end.
For Rock of Ages 3’s demo, I got to help Odysseus out as his ship gets stranded up on the giant’s island. Without any rock to put together a boulder with, we instead turn to the local sheep in order to break through the boulder that the giant has blocked the cave we are in with. After a few rolls down the continuously more complex ramp — the giant even has some castle walls to try to block the path — we eventually broke through to freedom, or as close to it as Odysseus and his crew could get to.
That eventually led us to having to defend ourselves from incoming attacks as the giant armed his assault following our escape, turning the game into a tower defense of sorts, with me placing towers and obstructions down in the track as the giant continuously tossed rocks at us. What a jerk. It’s a nice change of pace, but honestly I much prefer rolling the boulders if you ask me!
Playing any of the Rock of Ages has always been relatively simple. Keeping the boulder in check is a matter of carefully balancing speed and control as you take the turns on ramps that usually don’t have any sort of boundaries, making it very easy to veer out and crashing halfway to the end. Thankfully, the Unreal Engine provides a realistic amount of physics and such which for as insane as the concept of rolling a huge boulder can be helps keep things as believable as possible and not at all cheap.
The real defining feature in Rock of Ages 3 is the addition of a much requested track creation mode, which, uhm, makes the “Make” part of this game’s name. By partaking into a tutorial section under Napoleon’s wing, you’re introduced to the surprisingly complex construction tools with which you can put together a track to be used in any of the game’s play modes. If you’re into creating custom levels, this will prove to be a lot of fun. I however am positively awful at this, so please don’t look up any of the test levels I made in order to write this preview!
For now, I came out of testing Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break with a grin on my face, something I never thought of having during this particular moment. Having a game like this where nothing is really taken seriously is a welcome diversion that I will do my best to keep in my sights as it approaches its final release on June 2nd for consoles and PC.