Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 01.06.2019

Review for Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder on Nintendo Switch

Rock of Ages was ACE Team's weird and wonderful experimental hybrid of tower defence meeting Super Monkey Ball. The gameplay was an interesting formula that was made all the more compelling thanks to a visual style that was ripped from Terry Gilliam's imagination that made extensive use of clip art animation of historical art. Even the humour was deftly emulated, as if Monty Python never stopped and made a video game powered with the Unreal engine. ACE Team unsatisfied, feeling as if they could do better; Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder was born. Cubed3 investigates if this sequel lives up to its bold moniker, or if it's just more of the same.

A lot of the essence of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail was taking out a lot of the elitism in historical entertainment-like film adaptations. It is not something most people recognise when watching a silly comedy where guys prance around with coconuts, but ACE Team acknowledges the finer aspects of the Python animation. Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder is a very politically incorrect story about Atlas, and how he bungles his most basic task, and it culminates into a final battle with the almighty himself. The way how it plays out is so absurd that it has to be seen to believe. Along the way Atlas has some run-ins with some famous historical figures, as well as fictional ones and even goes rock to rock with some famous pieces of art.

Screenshot for Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder on Nintendo Switch

To the uninitiated, Rock of Ages 2 has a few basic phases to its gameplay that make up its loop: preparation, unit placement and rolling. Prep is done at the start, and is where players will select their rock of which there are plenty with differing stats. Aside from choosing a rock, units must be selected which are not that different from the kind of accoutrements and traps that would be seen in a tower defence game. Things like spring boards, canons, lions, exploding barrels, and even walls, can be placed on the opponent's track to give them a bad time, and hopefully compromise their roll from smashing home base too badly. After trapping the opponent's track, it would be a good time to finally start rolling and finally Rock of Ages 2's highlighting moment can finally be played; rolling down a gauntlet teeming with cows and traps as fast as possible to crash through the enemy's gate. The enemy, whether it's controlled by an A.I. in the story mode or human in the online mode, can have the capacity to devise devious obstacle courses and it is always thrilling gaining speed to ram into dark territory. Things ramp up since castle gates will take several rams and between obstacle runs is the period to place more traps, telescoping the challenge and chaos.

Screenshot for Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder on Nintendo Switch

The game loop is simple yet addictive. What keeps things varied is the chaotic physics that react believably, flinging debris and particles everywhere. The vast unlockable units, usable rocks and paint jobs, keeps the story mode compelling enough, but if there was any area that is lacking is Bigger & Boulder's woeful excuses for boss fights. For some reason there is no way to really lose in these battles, even when health is completely depleted. They are nothing like the standard gameplay in the campaign or multiplayer and are half-hearted attempts as being puzzles that incorporate precise platforming. The playability is intentionally loose and difficult to manage, being that user controls as a large boulder, and expecting people to effectively platform in this manner is counter-intuitive. The fact that there is such low challenge to these sequences is seemingly an admission by ACE Team that they could've been more enjoyable than they are.

Screenshot for Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder on Nintendo Switch

As if the thrilling obstacle courses weren't enough, the opponent intro animations offer a hilarious reprieve from all that rolling and planning. These vignette animations are pitch perfect in their tone and execution and flawlessly capture the essence of Terry Gilliam's animations from his days as a Python. The music and voice-acting is so evocative of the style that ACE Team is striving for, that it is almost indistinguishable. Cut-outs of pieces of art are used almost exclusively for all characters, which pays off for the limited specs of the Switch so that the battlefield can be littered with hundreds of figures at any moment. As rich and vast as the vistas can be, they do come at a cost. Bigger & Boulder does have a nasty tenancy to chug its frame rate when the ball gets rolling fast and when there is just so much chaos and real time physics happening all at once.

Screenshot for Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder is an ingenious mixture of madness that is punctuated with highly entertaining animated sequences. The striking visual style that ACE Team is known for is distinct with just an acceptable amount of amateurishness keep it hilarious and memorable. Whether it's going up against another human or the AI, everyone should always throw rock.

Developer

ACE Team

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Action

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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