PREVIEW: ‘God of Rock’ Is A Promising Blend Of Genres (PC)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

God of Rock — But Why Tho

Games like PaRappa the Rapper, Dance Dance Revolution, and Guitar Hero have become a distant, nostalgic memory for a large population of gamers. God of Rock, published by the award-winning indie game studio Modus Games, aims to innovate the genre by combining rhythm with combat and engaging its audience with some of the most stylish graphics I’ve seen so far this year.

At first glance, God of Rock appears to be a derivative, shallow clone of PaRappa the Rapper. Buttons are displayed at the bottom of the screen, and the closer a player gets to perfectly timing their button hits, their score grows. However, the more I played, the more I realized that its gameplay deserves credit for its complexity. Unlike other rhythm games, the player isn’t necessarily doomed to fail a level for missing a few button hits, nor is it a game solely based on timing button hits appropriately. God of Rock forces the player to strategize the timing of their button hits to build up combos that can potentially decimate the opponent. This feels like a smooth and effective way to blend the fighting and rhythm genres and lends itself well to a powerful feeling of pride and accomplishment in your success when playing through levels.

The gameplay itself is fleshed out but actually quite difficult. On regular difficulty, the speed at which the player is supposed to press buttons feels too fast to process. However, players familiar with the genre will likely have no issue keeping up with the difficulty. Despite the learning curve and challenging speed of the rhythms, God of Rock is still forgiving because whether or not a fight is won depends entirely on your opponent’s successes with timing. There are thankfully accessibility options if the game becomes too demanding. Additionally, the game will offer both an online and local multiplayer mode. The attention and care that the developers have put into making a fast-paced yet engaging gameplay loop makes me hopeful that the multiplayer modes will be just as engrossing.

Much like some of the later Guitar Hero games, God of Rock allows players to create their own songs. Unfortunately, this is a feature that does not quite feel fully realized yet. Players will be able to map out buttons for every beat in a song and even control the environment in which the battle will take place. However, the game so far offers no direction whatsoever on how this feature works. It’s frustrating to think that when you’ve finalized a level, an error could force you to start over or require you to review all the buttons you’ve mapped out in over ninety measures of a song. Though this aspect feels like it needs some work, I am hopeful that the official release will provide some guidance.

To be clear, God of Rock will not scratch the itch for any gamers looking for something similar to Rock Band or Guitar Hero. At its core, God of Rock is a fighting game with a variety of characters that each have unique abilities and combos. The soundtrack, though fitting for the theme of the game, is generally unrecognizable and devoid of any catchiness or lyrical content. However, this does not negatively impact the experience of playing God of Rock; each level and song perfectly adds to the buildup of tension during the fight. Despite this, it may still be disappointing to some fans of the rhythm genre that were anticipating a soundtrack that would allow them to sing along.

God of Rock will captivate players with its incredibly stylish, fluid art style and animations. Heavily inspired by anime, the characters are all distinct and cartoonish parodies of famous rock musicians. There is also a clear, heavy influence from other fighting games in the character design. For example, one character looks exactly like Blanca from Street Fighter dressed like David Bowie. Another character looks and sounds like Elvis Presley but feels inspired by Kazuya Mishima from Tekken. The environments pop with vivid, contrasting colors. The game has so much character and charm, it is almost impossible not to be dazzled by its visuals.

Overall, God of Rock looks like a promising blend of two completely distinct genres. It’s elegant, has a great sense of humor, and I love that I’ll be able to play against others. My expectations will be high for the full release, and I am looking forward to seeing the final polish that the studio is going to put on this already beautiful game.

God of Rock will release April 18, 2023 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

%d bloggers like this: