Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break is wild, wacky and sheer destructive fun.
The third instalment of Rock of Ages is yet another hilarious tour through key historic conflicts from the point of view of rocks! They’re not just any rocks, we’re talking about giant boulders that defined the outcome of wars!
While the premise is simple – you alternate between controlling various giant boulders through crazy obstacle courses to breach the enemy’s gates and building strategic tower defence to impede the enemy’s boulder, the real fun lies in the game’s wonderfully absurd humour and ridiculous visual aesthetics.
The game’s story mode levels are mostly similar and can get repetitive very quickly, but the game makes up for it with each level’s unique thematic design. One of the best parts about the game is the cinematic cutscenes – funny and quirky, largely thanks to the witty combination of Monty-Pythonesque animation and Terry Gillian-inspired medieval illustration.
Somehow, it never gets old watching 2D cutouts of famous historical figures doing a Pythonesque dance across screen, all the while grunting and making gibberish sounds.
The base game mode, War, is intense. And while it isn’t hard to grasp its tower defence objectives, this mode can pose a challenge due to its rather barebones tutorial.
Only through exhausting trial and error can you overcome the game’s lack of explanation on what defensive units do, and when you’re expected to set up defences while also simultaneously attacking your opponent, this can quickly bring on teeth grinding frustration in early game.
You also need stars to unlock stronger and better defensive and trap units. Luckily, there are other more straightforward and fun arcade modes that let you accumulate stars, such as Obstacle (reach the finish line first and score points by avoiding obstacles), Time Trial (destroy enemy’s weapons stash before your bomb goes off), Unit Challenge (defend your castle with limited resources, really limited – like having just one defence unit to work with), and Skee Boulder (score points by breaking targets and then aim to land on the highest multiplier at the end).
Skee Boulder sounds fun and easy enough, but because you’re competing with the AI, whenever a mistake causes you to barrel off a cliff, there’s no coming back from that since the AI usually doesn’t fall, and you may be forced to restart the race.
Suffice to say, this can also breed frustration. Honestly, most if not all of the game’s modes are simply best played with friends or in multiplayer mode, if only to avoid going up against the uninspiring AI.
Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break also has a pretty elaborate course editor in “Make” mode that allows you to build your own boulder course and levels. You get to upload them onto the server and share with many other like-minded creators.
Other than the fact that the course editor clearly works better on PC controls than on the console, it’s surprisingly extensive, and as an aesthetics nerd myself, I love that you have every decor option available to beautify your course.
My biggest gripe with the game is how often it crashes on the PS4, and we’re talking about every fifteen minutes! It needs a patch ASAP.
Playing with friends is where the game actually shines, and there’s also admittedly a good deal of enjoyment to be found in designing your wildest boulder course. If you’re looking for a unique, hilarious and family-friendly game for your house parties post-COVID, Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break just might fulfil all of the requirements for an all-round social gaming experience.