It’s been six years since a very strange boulder (with a face on) smashed its way into people's hearts and houses, and now ACE TEAMS are back once more to not only bury you in rubble, but offer you tonnes of new ways to do so. With a perfectly punny name and a boast of more content, does this quirky roller have enough to land with impact, or crack under the pressure?
Turns out it does, but it’s not without a few bumpy moments.
The premise of the game is to take your sentient boulder and trundle as quickly as you can towards an enemy player’s castle, throwing yourself into the gate in an effort to bust down the ramparts and squash the inhabitants. Added to the mix is another player who - as well as yourself - can place down defences (like a whale that sucks you in and spits you out, or a rampaging bull who really doesn't rate rocks) to slow or entirely crumble your chances. It’s gloriously simple, but allows veteran rollers a chance to trap and destroy opposing boulders if they plan carefully.
On any level it’s a heap of fun, and it’s this playful sense of silly that is clearly developer ACE TEAMS wheelhouse, as they portray a Monty Python-esque world which is as surreal as it is striking. Levels start out pretty basic, but soon evolve into twisting courses plucked right out of Salvador Dali’s most eye-popping fantasies. There’s always a comedic moment to be had in the cutscenes or the level design, and it establishes the identity of Rock of Ages 2 quickly.
On top of this we have a story mode which sees Atlas and his boulder get into all sorts of scrapes across multiple timelines. A new swathe of items and weapons help you get the better of your opponents, all sillier than the last. Sticky Cows anyone?
If you feel like you’ve got the stones (sorry) you can even have up to four players smashing it out in either co-op or competitive gameplay, however, there are issues. For example, the boulders are unsurprisingly difficult to control at full speed, and it takes some of the impact out when you’re reduced to slowly rolling around some of the later, ‘twistier' levels.
Balancing is also a bit of a bugbear in single player, as you’ll often be going up against enemies who use items you’ve not been able to unlock yet, which make it feel a lot less fair when they can blow you off the map and all you can do is mildly inconvenience them with a simple tower.
Yet, this isn’t enough to stop me enjoying the hell out of this game. Its pick up and play nature and easy learning curve will definitely see it in game night rotations, or in our case, drunk game night rotations. It’s a game which doesn’t ask to be taken seriously, and is well worth it’s low price.