God of Rock, published by Modus Games, is a rhythm-based fighting game centered on several characters that are derivative of famous rock stars. Similar to rhythm games like PaRappa the Rapper, God of Rock is rather simple in its presentation yet incredibly difficult to master. The game has interesting and stylish graphics, an engaging over-the-top storyline, and a great soundtrack for fans of rock, but it may not be enough to make it worth everyone’s time.
When I previewed God of Rock several months ago, I was excited by the innovative combination of combat and rhythm. Few games have been able to achieve rhythmic combat in an engaging manner since Guitar Hero, and this game was certainly promising. Although not much has been innovated since I first got to try the game in January, God of Rock remains a challenging and fun format for a fighting game. Every perfectly timed button will provide a stronger attack or greater defense, while missing buttons creates a disadvantage for the player. Because combat is entirely based on players’ rhythm skills, there is no need to memorize a list of several combos or controls that other fighting games like Tekken or Street Fighter might require.
Though the controls are relatively simple, the complexity and difficulty spikes vary greatly for each song. Even on its easiest difficulty, I still found myself missing buttons as notes raced toward the hit marker. It was really refreshing to play with controls that felt easy to pick up and difficult to master. In general, players will easily be able to conquer the arcade story mode as long as a majority of buttons are hit with some accuracy. For these reasons, God of Rock may serve as an excellent introductory game to the fighting or rhythm genre.
I was particularly eager to try God of Rock’s multiplayer modes, but after realizing there wasn’t much difference from the arcade mode, I was somewhat disappointed. Players can choose to play as any of the characters and engage in combat just like in arcade mode, but an additional option is available to play on a custom map. My gaming partner and I both got a kick out of the sense of humor presented in the game, as most characters are based on famous rock stars such as Elvis or David Bowie and voiced by impersonators. God of Rock offers online multiplayer, but the player base isn’t yet big enough to have a worthwhile experience. In fact, I couldn’t even match into a fight when I tried to play online several times.
When I first previewed God of Rock, I was interested to see how the custom song feature might be further developed. Unfortunately, it still feels like this feature needs to be fleshed out and adjusted to be more accessible. For those interested in the customization options and creating their own maps, it will be incredibly important to pay close attention to the tutorials. Creating a map is still neither user-friendly nor intuitive, and most people will likely opt to just play pre-made levels. Players can customize songs down to the eighth note, but the process to create such a level requires navigating several options and confusing menus. Anyone that has the patience to work through the tutorials and spend time on level customization will find it a rewarding experience.
Perhaps the biggest pitfall of God of Rock is how it manages to distract players from its beautiful presentation. Despite some animation issues with mouths and voices aligning, the game is graphically beautiful and incredibly stylish. However, I found myself so heavily focused on the rhythm and button pressing that I never got the opportunity to see the animations during actual gameplay.
Overall, God of Rock has some minor issues and could use some tweaking, but it still offers immense fun. Easy to pick up and hard to master, God of Rock has to be one of the most engaging games to come out so far this year.
God of Rock is out now on all major platforms.
God of Rock
Easy to pick up and hard to master, God of Rock has to be one of the most engaging games to come out so far this year.