Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder Review

by Frank Donnadio
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“Gunter glieben glauchen globen”. Sorry we couldn’t help ourselves.

It’s been a long six years since the release of the original Rock of Ages, so it’s time to roll on once again. Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder is a rock-solid combination of a tower defense game such as Kingdom Rush or Rampart with a roller ball mechanic reminiscent of Super Monkey Ball or it’s spiritual predecessor Marble Madness. The racing element of this game is very strong as while you’re not on the clock, you are racing to destroy your opponent before they destroy you. Read on for our full Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder review.

Title: Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder

Publisher: Atlus

Developer: ACE Team

Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Reviewed On: PlayStation 4

Release Date: August 28, 2017

Game Provided by the Publisher for the Sake of This Review

Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder is an incredibly beautiful trip throughout classic art, world history and classical music. This sequel to the 2011 Rock of Ages ramps the surrealism and gameplay up to 11. Powered by the Unreal Engine 4, you battle your way through (or more realistically, against) some of the most iconic and well loved books, historical events and works of art such as Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, Miguel Cervantes’s “Don Quixote” and even a battle against William Wallace… the real one, not the Mel Gibson version, though they both may or may not appear in the game… mostly may. This game hands down has some of the wackiest cinematic storylines and cutscenes we’ve seen in a long time. The classical music playing in the background was expertly picked for each of the maps and adds to the battle element. Something about hearing the William Tell overture while crushing our enemies just makes it that much more fun.

The basic premise of Rock of Ages II is as follows. You and your opponent are stationed in castles with obstacle courses in front of your respective keeps. You build fortifications to impede the progress of your enemies boulder as they do the same. When your boulder is ready (there is a re-spawn while your troops construct a new boulder) you take control of it and pilot it across the course to pick up speed and crash into the door of your enemies castle. Obviously you want to move at top speed to do maximum damage, but easier said than done.

With new and exciting boulders such as the giant cube aptly called “the block of ages”, a prehistoric wheel and even a boulder made of tar which makes it impossible for your enemy to build defenses on smeared areas, developers ACE Team improved on every aspect of the originals gameplay. There are smoother graphics, improved physics, new time eras and methods of play such as local and online co-op or even the new 4 player multiplayer which adds a fun arcade feel to the game.

We’re not going to lie, jumping straight into the game from the tutorial we weren’t very savvy at all, our defenses did nothing, we rolled ourselves off the courses more times than we can count and we uttered some words that would warrant a mouthful of soap, but in the immortal words of Axl Rose “take it slow, it’ll work itself out fine, all you need is just a little patience”. The game rewards you with humorous cutscenes, new unlockable boulders, characters, avatars and traps so just keep at it and you’re going to have a blast.

Speaking of a blast. Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder introduces an all new boulder, the Explosive Boulder, into the mix. The ultimate in risk vs reward, this boulder can do some serious damage to your opponent’s castle, if you don’t blow up along the way.

We really enjoyed designing our defenses in a manner that we knew would give our opponent a headache and we were delighted to see that more than once we had caught them in an endless loop of doom and despair. That’s what you get for trying to knock down our castle!

With traps ranging from the traditional springboard, explosives and tower walls to the absurd such as sticky cows, spear men on elephants or lions dangled from hot air balloons, the defense side will test your wits to see just how you’ll impede the other team while you make your mad dash for glory through the treacherous maelstrom of mayhem they’ve laid before you.

The game hits all the high notes, with it’s humor very reminiscent of Monty Python, it’s challenging but easy to learn and master gameplay and a super fun multiplayer aspect, and it’s perfect melding of strategy and racing, we cannot recommend Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder enough to fans of those genres.

8.5  /  10

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