Review: Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder (PS4)

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Warning: This review may be full of rock puns or something. Or not, as I’m writing this on the fly between campaign missions. Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder is a must buy right out of the game if you love your games surreal, physics-based and packed with artistic genius that might roll over the heads of some gamers who won’t “get” the all-out insanity here at all. Granted, developer ACE Team has always gone out of its way to lace their games with stylistic influences that are far from the norm when it comes to pegging them with a particular style. But here, you get the kind of mind-bending overkill that’s constantly making you smile or burst out laughing because pulling off humor so well in a game like this makes it a total blast.

There’s a single player mode as well as co-op and online play for up to four. But at heart this is a spin on a few genres from racing to tower defense, to bowling with a dash of puzzle elements thrown in for good measure than can be fully enjoyed solo. Imagine if Rampart, Super Monkey Ball, and Marble Madness had a child raised on a steady diet of Monty Python animation while reading art history books for fun and you’re about a tenth of the way into what’s going on here. The game is also quite challenging and definitely not a cakewalk on the more difficult settings. That said, prepare to let the good times roll as you rock on with Atlas as he engages in rolling combat with assorted foes in not at all historically accurate settings.

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PC Review: The Deadly Tower of Monsters

SCARLET_MODEL_1Platform: PC (also on PS4)

Developer: ACE Team

Publisher: Atlus

# of Players: 1

MSRP: $14.99

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: B+ (85%)

 

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Yep, they’ve gone and done it again. Chilean developer ACE Team’s latest game, The Deadly Tower of Monsters is a solid and fun ride that’s going to tickle the fancy of those gamers young to old with a knowledgeable love for “B” movies, primarily of the sci-fi variety. The Unreal engine-powered stylized visuals look great, and the offbeat humor comes from a few angles expected and surprising. While the game may not seem all that lengthy, finding some of its secrets will take some effort. A few flaws (that can be patched) keep it from perfection, but overall this is one of those great little sleepers you’ll want to take for a spin and add to your game library.

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Now Playing: The Deadly Tower of Monsters

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I love it when a plan comes together. While I can’t reveal anything score-wise until the review embargo lifts, ACE Team’s latest game is so far, pretty awesome. Especially if you love old “B” sci-fi flicks from the last century in all their intentional and unintended cheesy glory. That is all (for now). Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some chuckling whilst playing to do.

The Deadly Tower of Monsters: ACE Team’s Got Another Weird Winner Up Its Sleeve

SCARLET_MODEL_1If you’re a fan of old sci-fi “B” movies from days gone by, ACE Team is going to get you grinning with their upcoming PC and PS4-bound game The Deadly Tower of Monsters. The Santiago, Chile-based developer with its small library of visually gorgeous and reliably weird games is making this one a special slice of must-buy entertainment on a few fronts. The game seems to be a mix of classic beat ’em up and action/RPG with a decidedly retro vibe and some very pretty visuals. As a big “B” flick fan, I like the offbeat influences from films such as Forbidden Planet, Invaders From Mars, King Kong and many more. Sure, the younger gamers might be clueless and not aware of all the in-jokes and homages to too many things to count. But the end result should hook them in with what’s looking like fast-paced gameplay and those aforementioned pretty visuals.

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From the videos above and below, the game sure looks as if it’ll be fun enough to warrant plenty of sales, a few replays and hopefully more console ports at some point down the road. Of course, that’s mostly up to how the game does on those two initial platforms and any legal stuff keeping it locked down on two platforms. I don’t mind exclusives at all, ladies and germs. But it’s nice to have more options over less when there’s a title as fun-looking as this one on the way.


 

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Abyss Odyssey Extended Dream Edition: ACE Work, Now On PS4

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AO_EDEACE Team’s rogue-like brawler/RPG/adventure hybrid Abyss Odyssey was one of those uniquely gorgeous games that catered best to those who spent time mastering the intricacies of its seemingly simple combat system. The game’s lovely Art Nouveau-inspired visuals and realistic animation made it less of a button basher and more a game where practice makes perfect. Capturing enemy souls and using those enemies or the allies you’d also unlock to replay procedurally generated maps added plenty of replay value to what was a nicely challenging game experience.

Now, the PS4 finally gets what’s looking like the definitive version of the game. As you can see from those nice-looking screen shots below (which do indeed look nice, but don’t really do the game much justice at all), the game is Mucha beautiful:

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In addition to some nicely enhanced visuals and smoother gameplay, there’s also a new online PvP mode for those who crave fighting against live opponents. Speaking of gameplay – here’s a short look at the launch trailer:


 

Se what I mean by screenshots not doing this justice? Anyway, go grab this one if your artistic and energetic sides have been activated. It’s a neat little sleeper that will keep you entertained for quite a bit.

Preview: The Deadly Tower of Monsters Looks Like A Nice Place to Visit


 

Atlus and developer ACE team are going to make some of us well-aged “B” movie fans really happy soon. The Deadly Tower of Monsters is coming to PC and PlayStation 4 soon and it looks like a total camp classic that captures the weird spirit of plenty of well-aged flicks that made for some fun weekends in front of the tube way back when. I’m gathering the humor will be lost on the more jaded gamers of today or those expecting new games to all look the same with super-shiny realism all over the place.

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Nope, you’re not getting that here at all. TDToM seems to be presented from a mostly isometric perspective so comparisons to something like Diablo III or Gauntlet will no doubt be made by some. I’m liking the wires on that rocket above, the intentionally choppy stop-motion dinosaur and the super-colorful graphics while hoping there’s an optional black and white mode in the mix somewhere.

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As I won’t be at E3 this year, I’m not going to be getting any hands-on time with the game (boo!). But I’ll keep an ear to the ground and keep an eye peeled for videos of gameplay because this one sure looks like something I’d play to death and beyond. Now, if only it was coming to more consoles. But I guess we’ll see what happens if it does well enough to expand onto more systems. As usual… we shall see.

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Abyss Odyssey Asks You To Beat Time (and Plenty of Bad People) On PC, PS3 & Xbox 360

AO_WPACE Team’s games have ranged from the extremely strange (Zeno Clash, Zeno Clash 2) to the somewhat stranger (Rock of Ages), so it’s a fine thing indeed to see them making a more straightforward game in Abyss Odyssey, set to hit PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on June 15 for $14.99 (or 9.99 if you pre-order the game on Steam, you lucky PC owners you!).

abyss_shot_pit According to Atlus, the game is “a new side-scrolling action adventure game featuring a complex fighting engine in procedurally generated levels”, which means no two players should see the exact same levels as they play. Gameplay will seem familiar to fans of Dragon’s Crown on the PS3 and Vita, but like that VanillaWare instant classic, AO owes a lot to gaming’s past on a few fronts.

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As you can see above, the art style here is certainly gorgeous, as is most of the animation, going for a mix of realism in the character models and lush fantasy elements in those lovely environments and enemies. Additionally, making a female one of the playable characters from the outset is a smart move, as a game such as this will have a wider appeal with the addition of a lady who can hold her own with the tough guys here.

That said, it’s too bad this isn’t on a disc, as I know a few folks who aren’t fond of digital all that much who’d LOVE this game to death. Oh well – I suppose one day Atlus will gather all of ACE’s games up and stick them onto a Blu-Ray for a limited retail release at some point. Or at least realize that not everyone prefers the “convenience” of not owning a physical product you can lend to someone without having to rely on the internet to make that loan or trade possible. Anyway, this one looks like an instant BUY in my book.

Atlus Joins The Humble Weekly Sale Action – Knock Yourself Out For A Few Bucks….

While it would have been nice to see an ALL Atlus bundle, the three games here plus the Tripwire Interactive titles aren’t bad at all and for six bucks (which unlocks everything including the soundtracks), you’re getting a really nice deal in this Humble Weekly Sale. Of course, if you’re like me, this tempting set of titles only means your backlog of games you’ll need to play only grows like a beanstalk up to a giant castle full of MORE games (and a golden egg laying goose, perhaps?). And hey, as you can see above, Rock of Ages is insane and hilarious enough to pay six bucks for on its own. Both Zeno Clash games are a hoot as well. Anyway, you know what to do, correct?

Zeno Clash II Trailer: Atlus Has Another ACE Effort (That More Need To Be Able To Play)…

 

As much goofy but intense fun as Zeno Clash II and its prequel, Zeno Clash: Ultimate Edition look, the tiny little fact that many devoted Atlus fans who can’t get access to PSN or Steam accounts are going to miss yet another great game is going to be a sticking point that has yet to find a proper resolution. Yeah, yeah, I know digital is the way to go (and the waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay of the future!) for a super-niche game such as this one (and man is it weird!), but I’d love to see Atlus get BOTH Zeno Clash games onto a disc (along with ACE Team’s awesome Rock of Ages) for console users who don’t or can’t use PSN or XBLA. I actually have the first game for PC on a new import disc I picked up from the UK, but it requires a wee bit more powerful of a PC than I currently use and my laptop DEFINITELY can’t run it at all. Bleh.  I’m not one for online petitions, but I’ll go sign one if need be just to get to play more funky games such as these…

E3 2012: Two From Atlus: Zeno Clash II & The Testament of Sherlock Holmes

Like plenty of publishers these days, Atlus has been diversifying its games lineup for a while now with unique games in assorted genres outside the ones they’re know for in the US. Here are trailers to two titles from their lineup, one a sequel to a PC, PSN and Xbox Live Arcade fighter/action/shooter hybrid (that i REALLY wish would be put on a disc with the first part so MORE can play it) and the latest in the Sherlock Holmes game series ported from PC (which has ZERO to do with that bizarre BBC show everyone seems to like save for Holmes purists). Oh yeah, my Game of Thrones review will be up once all the E3 madness subsides, it’s not as bad as some sites are saying… you just need a great deal of patience and not mind at all that the game takes itself REALLY seriously (for the most part)…