It’s been six years since the original release of first instalment of the Rock of Ages series. And ever since, the market has been pleading for an arcade take on the strategy genre, as Rock of Ages was the high school jock, in comparison to all the other strategy nerds. And the sequel to the rather brilliant Rock of Ages, Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder, takes the core formula of its predecessor and runs with it straight to the score line.
Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder, just like the original, is all about rolling boulders down a hill past the numerous obstacles, in order to destroy the gate to your opponent’s castle, and in-turn, the opponent him/herself. But where the original was all about rolling the boulder, the sequel is all about the strategy and survival – as destroying your enemy’s gate is as important as the preservation of your own, as it is the only thing between your survival and potential demise.
The core gameplay of the Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder, is divided into two separate stages. First requires you to build defenses throughout the track, such as trebuchets, sticky cows, and catapults, which allow you to both slow your opponent’s boulder down, and destroy it, if enough damage is dealt over the course of a single run. Whereas the second stage is all about the relentless onslaught of you enemy’s base of operations. And in order to successfully complete this particular stage, you’ll have to roll, jump, and dodge your way past numerous ground and air defenses which have been placed on the track by your enemy. And over the course of a single level, the layout of the traps will change, as between every single launch of a boulder, there is short period of time where both you, and the enemy can modify your respective defensive structures.
Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder, despite of its rather limited gameplay mechanics is an incredibly captivating title. And that’s because every single track offers a player a brand-new challenge. And most importantly, each and every stage is completely unique – as the story Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder is all about challenging numerous historical figures to a boulder-bash. And thourhought the rather impressive campaign, you’ll challenge kings, artists, and even mystical figures such as Baba Yaga. And each and every stage features complete artistic overhaul, and offers the player numerous unique unlocks.
Having to compete in duels with numerous figures may sound exhausting, as ultimately repetitive gameplay may lead to boredom. However, Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder, offers the players enough variety, which makes each and every level not only fun, but also incredibly engaging. But if one looks for more than simple duels, then he/she will also have a chance to compete in numerous boulder races, and a handful of boss fights. But while such provide one with a dash of variety, and ultimately reward one with trophies/achievements, and other unlocks, they’re just a side-dish, to the main course of the strategy-centric duels.
Time-trials, races, and boss fights are an interesting addition to the otherwise two-dimensional Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder. However, their existence doesn’t change the fact that the title at hand is a game of war, first and foremost. And this idea is further reinforced by the fact that this iteration of the Rock of Ages series includes multiplayer modes which allow the title to extend its shelf life significantly.
Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder offers all its potential customers a handful of multiplayer-centric endeavours, both on and offline. As all the single player battles can be re-enacted within a player vs player environment, which pitches players against each other in a duel to the death and glory. And unlike the single player mode, multiplayer is not limited to 1 vs 1 fights, as it also allows for co-op matches where players can fight against each other in pairs.
When one takes the single player component, and the multiplayer portion Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder into consideration. He/she is served with a title which is a rightful, and accomplished sequel to the original Rock of Ages. As it builds upon the core formula of its predecessor, and expands it significantly, to a point where it feels not like a cheap indie game, but a title with a heart and soul; a title which may become more than the flavour of the week. Even those who do not enjoy challenging other players online will find Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder to be a complete package worth its asking price, as the campaign is full of content both in terms of levels as well as boulders, and weaponry. And it is crafted using salad fingers animations, and a whole lot of slapstick humour, which for the most part is actually pretty funny, but gets a little cringe-worthy at certain points.
In-short, Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder, is what a sequel should be. A title that its true to its core, but one which has ensured that it is more than just a cheap knock-off of its predecessor. It’s filled to the brim with content, and offers countless hours of replay-ability within the confines of the limited single player content. And the multiplayer, which is surprisingly solid for an indie game, will surely provide all its adopters with additional hours of play time. And seemingly title’s only major downside is the fact that its visual façade can look a little flat when one zooms all the way in, and the salad finger character models feature a worrying amount of digital artifacting which some will surely be repulsed by.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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