Game Info:

Rock 'N Roll
Developed: ZaxtorGameS
Published By: ZaxtorGameS
Released: August 28, 2017
Available On: Windows
Genre: Arcade
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $6.99

Thank you ZaxtorGameS for providing us with a review code!

Nothing like the good ol’ classics to remind us what people used to spend hours on over 30 years ago. In a situation where asteroids threaten the Earth, it’s more of a when you will die instead of an if. But in your death, will the Earth be destroyed in the aftermath or will it be saved? No matter the situation, it’s time to Rock ‘n Roll!

Publisher and sole developer ZaxtorGameS takes inspiration from 1979’s Asteroids and adds a few more modifications to bring a more modern take. Power-ups, multiple game modes, and boss battles make Rock ‘n Roll stand out from its brothers and sisters. As most of you know, Asteroid games are omni-directional shooters with a score-based focus. Destroy the asteroids and accumulate a high score. Power-ups can have you ram through asteroids at high speeds or become completely intangible!

There are a couple of unique mechanics, most notably the crumble system. Every asteroid has a small chance to “crumble” into numerous amber-glowing asteroids, making dodging harder to do. Another mechanic is the G.E.O.S. gems (stands for Galactic Emeralds of Sacrifice). Rock ‘n Roll has a secondary objective where G.E.O.S. gems are earned throughout the game. The more G.E.O.S. collected, the higher chance you have of saving the Earth. These two mechanics do a nice job adding a fresh taste to an old genre.

Rock 'N Roll

Strong Points: Silly sense of humor; the power ups separate it from most Asteroids clones
Weak Points: Controls will make or break the experience
Moral Warnings: Some language such as “h*ll”, “d*mn” and “b*st*rd”; God’s name used in vain in one of the achievement descriptions;  innuendos within the “Rock Hard” game mode

In-between the standard rock-blasting levels are boss battles. Some have you face off against an enemy spacecraft or defending Earth against a red sentient asteroid. In both the standard levels and boss levels, minerals such as gold can be collected to be later used in the shop to buy upgrades and sub-weapons, or to exchange for points to gain extra lives. The shop is where one can also save their progress (with F1-F4 keys) to come back to later. There also exists another game mode called Rock Hard. It’s a type of survival mode where one life and limited ammo are given in an enclosed box. The objective is to survive as long as possible.

There’s a strange and silly sense of humor radiating throughout Rock ‘n Roll—accompanied by rock and roll instrumentals. Some may find it groan-worthy while others will probably enjoy it. The narrator is almost always commentating, whether you narrowly dodge asteroids, pick up power-ups, or manage to lose a ship. This humor extends into the achievements in which exist over 100 of them. They all have long names for the achievements with just as long descriptions underneath them. Achievements are pretty easy to earn and you’ll most likely earn five of them within five seconds of playing.

In terms of graphics, they manage to be pretty simple. You have the choice between hand-drawn asteroids or “photorealistic” ones. Nothing mind-blowing, but they accomplish what they were meant to. The highest resolution available is 1080p but the aspect ratio can be stretched to whatever display you own.

Rock 'N Roll
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 64%
Gameplay 12/20
Graphics 6/10
Sound 7/10
Stability 5/5
Controls 2/5

Morality Score - 80%
Violence 7/10
Language 3/10
Sexual Content 10/10
Occult/Supernatural 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical 10/10

Now the most divisive portion of Rock ‘n Roll will most likely be the controls. As far as I remember, I do not recall Asteroids clones to either have such stiff or such loose controls. The thing is that control is inconsistent. In the standard asteroid levels, the ship feels unwieldy and moves too fast so accurate shooting is difficult to conduct. In the boss battles, movement is too sluggish so turning and flight are slow. And in Rock Hard mode, the controls are even more slippery than in the regular mode. With all of these different feelings in control, I could never seem to get it down. I’ve had slightly better luck with a gamepad than with keyboard and mouse. All buttons and keys used can be remapped but I found that to not fix the fundamental issues with the feeling of control.

Unlike most arcade shooters, there are a bit more morality concerns than what is to be believed. There are the typical explosions and spaceship violence seen in games such as these. As for the language, there is wordplay such as two powerups called the “A55 Kicker" (as in ‘ey fifty-five’) and “Mother Sucker”. But there exist swears such as “d*mn”, “h*ll”, and “b*st*rd”. I also saw God’s name used in vain once within one of the achievement descriptions. There is also innuendo centered around the Rock Hard mode, making comments and achievement names based on “how long you last” with the lowest ranking being described as “hard as a mushy banana.”

With a game like Rock ‘n Roll, whether you can or cannot get a handle on the controls is going to determine your experience. Unfortunately in my case, I just could not get used to how the controls felt, no matter the difficulty chosen or how much time I invested into it. Although it isn’t my walk in the park, I could see a die hard Asteroids fan getting enjoyment out of this one—even if it isn’t the most wholesome experience.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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