Everything we know about God of Rock
You guys aren't quite ready for it yet. But your kids are gonna love it.
Man, I’m doing well for myself this month! Getting to talk about two of my favourite gaming genres, back to back; it’s like Christmas. See: I’ve been covering A Weekend in Puzzleburg of late, which, if its title wasn’t an embarrassingly dead giveaway, is a puzzle game. That’s Favourite Genre Numero Uno. And now on the ol’ docket, I’ve got God of Rock coming down the pipeline – and it’s a rhythm game. Favourite Genre Numero Dos, step up to the plate.
God of Rock: the basics
God of Rock slides oh-so-enticingly towards us from Modus Games, indie devs extraordinaire and the publishers behind Them’s Fightin’ Herds, a My Little Pony-inspired beat-em-up (which, by sheer coincidence, I’ve also recently covered. They’re… they’re not watching me, are they?) It bills itself as a title that “blends rhythm-based gameplay with fighting game mechanics,” which doesn’t immediately sound like a winning combination, but I’ve been wrong before – and weirder disparate genres have been smooshed together with great success, to be sure. It certainly gives new meaning to the term ‘thrash metal’, eh? To celebrate the fact we’re only a couple of months out from its April release date, here’s everything we know about the musical brawler God of Rock!
The setting of God of Rock can perhaps best be described as akin to Blade Runner, fixed a little bit differently with a sprinkle of Rhythm Thief chucked on top. There’s a deep-cut reference for you SEGA nerds. All the neon-lit hellscapes and characters with more emotional baggage than a screening of Up held for suitcases are present and accounted for. The colourfully-hued streets and starways of the futuristic, sci-fi environment set the stage, quite literally, for a lighthearted musical tale (tinged with the occasional deeper theme the writers wanted to convey.) You know the score. Ha, another music pun. I’d better conduct myself more properly.
The best music tells a story
What’s the story? I’ll let Modus Games tell you themselves. “The mysterious God of Rock has revived the souls of the universe’s greatest musicians to clash for his entertainment. Revitalized with new bodies and new powers, each musician will become a contestant in his game, battling it out with each other for musical supremacy on a global stage.” The titular God of Rock will, presumably, be the antagonist then; and not just because he seems the type of muggins to artificially inflate ticket prices to his concerts. Only the most biting commentary here at Mega Visions, folks.
It’s your job, therefore, as one of a selection of wacky characters to do rhythmic battle with this megalomaniacal musician – and boy is there a varied roster here. With 12 to initially pick from, across 8 worlds, that comes with a bit of rudimentary maths to a total of 96 different ways your playthrough could pan out. Talk about your replay value! Each character, some blatantly inspired by real-life music icons, comes with a backstory that outlines their passion for song, as well as the tedious drudgery they’re looking to break free from.
Hail to the king
Take King, the obvious Elvis knockoff. Apparently, his high-riding lifestyle “made him soft, and his songs suddenly weren’t as hip anymore. He now lives with his mother.” Tough times, dude. Then there’s Hilde, “an Abbess, blessed with visions of a miraculous Light, leading a pre-ordained monastic life.” Destined to live out her days eating “terrible abbey food”, she “immersed herself in composing hymns, the only thing that can keep her mind off her ever-rumbling stomach.” You want to get yourself to a soup kitchen, love. They love a bit of religious charity. Looks good on the news.
Other eccentric faces include Rosetta, a shelf-stacking shop worker with a penchant for drumming; Johann, the stereotypical biker dude; and Tophat, a Michael Jackson expy whose childhood can be charitably described as “not great,” having “never met his parents,” per Modus. One would hope the real-world parallels don’t get in the way of the narrative the game is trying to tell, as it would damage any emotionally resonant scenes, I imagine, if you expect the characters to suddenly start moonwalking. Or vocally denying a stream of allegations. Then again, that might enhance things. What do I know?
Music that kicks, quite literally
Gameplay-wise, picture Guitar Hero set against a jacked-up sci-fi rendition of Street Fighter, and you’re most of the way there. Your character hangs out in the background as one of 40 songs plays, and your task is to hammer those well-worn buttons in time with the beat, administering all manner of punches and kicks to your foe as you do so. The more in sync you are, the more damage you deal. Ain’t got rhythm? Then you ain’t got kung fu, neither. Here’s how Modus put it: “soften up your opponent by executing normal moves and building a meter by hitting notes to the beat of the song, then spend your meter to unleash EX and special moves.” Apparently, these “do damage and add complexity to the music tracks.” There are the requisite flashy finishing moves, too.
Actually, that bit about the building complexity of music is something Modus have explicitly championed about God of Rock. A key feature is that the better you do, the trickier the rhythm and inputs will become, weeding out poorer players until only one dancer remains. This effectively means the skill ceiling is limitless, making one wonder just how tough the higher-end CPU opponents will be; will matches go on for upward of 10 minutes? Better learn those songs, and train those thumbs while you’re at it.
God of Rock plays its tune this April
There’ll be a Story Mode, obvs, as well as local and ranked online multiplayer if you’d like to dole out a symphonic smackdown on a flesh-and-blood opponent. Also in the package are a dedicated training arena, score attack modes and a Track Editor for you to put your rusty GarageBand skills to the test. It’s all here, if you’re inclined to poke around.
And that’s God of Rock. So far, so… utter lunacy. It remains to be seen just how readily the fighting mechanics will shack up with the precision required of a rhythm game. It’ll be tough to focus, one would think, with all that visual stimuli floating about – but who knows? Modus might be able to find that sweet spot where everything fits together harmoniously, and we end up with an unexpected gem. Rock on, devs. Impress me!
God of Rock is due out on April 18. It can currently be wishlisted on Steam. Are you excited? Let us know!