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God of Rock Review

Sometimes, genre mashups sound like a really good idea, but in practice they fall apart.

That’s unfortunately the case when it comes to God of Rock, which tries to fuse music-rhythm based gameplay with fighting game mechanics. Notes scroll left to right at the bottom of the screen, and it’s up to you to press the correct buttons in a timely manner to put on a good performance. Keep hitting good notes and you’ll chip away at your opponent’s health bar. Fail, and your own will be depleted. But to do real damage, you’re going to need to perform special attacks.

Special attacks are performed just like they are in the likes of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat – with a string of directions followed by a button input. The problem is, you’ve got to somehow work these commands in while also keeping up with the notes, which is not easy at all. You also need to keep an eye on their meters, as they have cooldown timers to prevent you from spamming them. Add in Ultra attacks that require a charged gauge to use, and you have a game that has you feeling like you’re trying to keep up multiple spinning plates.

What’s really unfortunate about God of Rock is that it’s neither really fulfilling as a music rhythm game or a fighting game. With your attention concentrated at the notes and gauges at the bottom of the screen, you can’t really see what’s happening up top, and so the action is wasted on you. Hell, you might not even be aware of how much health you or your opponent has until a fight ends.

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It perhaps wouldn’t be too bad if the music rhythm aspect was top notch, but that’s just not the case. It’s important in music rhythm games that the notes you press feel like they’re in time with the music, or, even better, drive it, but you don’t get that here. At the start of a fight, notes are sparse, giving you a fighting chance of keeping up, but as the fight rages on, more and more are thrown at you to up the ante. Sometimes additional white notes will appear as a result of your opponent’s actions, too. And instead of feeling like you’re you’re the God of Rock, you feel like you’re playing a devious game of Simon Says.

There’s one thing for sure: God of Rock is easy to pick up but hard to master. The game’s initial tutorial leads you into a false sense of security, teaching you which face button is attached to each track, as well as how to pull off special moves. It doesn’t prepare you, however, for notes that you need to hold, and when you need to press two or more buttons at once. To succeed in God of Rock at higher difficulty levels, you’ll need to master pressing both the face buttons and the d-pad to hit notes, and it takes some serious coordination.

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Those who do put the effort in and gel with God of Rock‘s unique gameplay will find that each of its 12 characters has their own story mode to play through. And outside of that there’s also local and online play. Players can even create their own tracks, choosing a stage and a piece of music before laying out a sequence of notes to hit according to their preferences. So, there’s plenty to go at at least. And we imagine the competition will get really heated between skilled players online.

While we can appreciate what Modus Studios was aiming for with God of Rock, we struggle to recommend it to anyone but the most ardent of music rhythm or fighting game fans. It’s a unique concept that sounds like it should work, but ultimately it’s neither fun as a music rhythm game or entertaining as a fighting game.


God of Rock Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of God of Rock is based on the PS5 version, wide a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

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Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!