God of Rock screen

rock gods review

rock gods review


need to know

what is it? A rhythm game slash 2D fighter with some rock guitar beats.
release date April 18, 2023
expect to pay $30/£25
developer modus studio
publisher modus studio
Reviewed on Nvidia GeForce RTX3070, AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, 16GB RAM
steam deck untested
associate Official Website(opens in a new tab)

For two genres that feel superficially familiar, fighting games and rhythm games are more like polar opposites. Of course, they both require precise input to a particular flow, but rhythm relies on mechanical perfection, and fighting games require a deeper knowledge of an often unpredictable opponent. In an ideal world, I think the two would harmonize well, but in the case of God of Rock, the genres it’s trying to blend are often at odds with each other.

It’s such a pity too. Fighters and rhythm are two of my favorite genres, so the idea of ​​a game that combines the two is music to me. Instead of lengthy move lists and dedicated punch/kick buttons, God of Rock’s combat is played out via a chart of notes that scrolls across the bottom of the screen. Hitting a note with the same precision as my opponent would have us both block the attack, but getting more accurate timing allowed me to break through their defenses and slam them.

Matches don’t end until one player is down, meaning two people with perfect timing could be locked in an infinite battle as the chart of notes gets harder and harder. That’s where Modus Studios throws in an additional fighting game. Each character has three super skills and a super move that can be thrown with some more traditional fighter input such as half and quarter turns. In addition to hitting an opponent with a string of random notes, these abilities can do things like quickly change the note speed, or restore my health when I get hit.

God of Rock’s song library is very useful. None of its songs wowed me, and I think the game would benefit from a smaller song library, maybe even some licensed songs. The problem is that the fighting game section severely disrupts the flow of the rhythm section. I’m finding it hard to find an opportunity to do my super input – I usually find myself deliberately dropping combos to try and attack. Thankfully, you don’t need to memorize every ability input precisely, as you can usually mix them up – a small window above the notes will only show you the correct ones, so you know when you’ve made a mistake. However, these movements are nearly impossible to accomplish when gaming with a mouse and keyboard. While I’m still dropping combos when using the controller, it’s much easier to use the analog sticks than it is to move my hands to a completely different location on the keyboard.

(Image credit: Modus Studios)

There are also reversals that can be performed, but reading and reacting to them properly adds further visual clutter. When my opponent is about to perform a super move, a circle in the middle of the screen lights up a specific color. In order to reverse their attacks and keep myself, I had to quickly respond with a higher-level super move. Trying to take my eyes off the note, focus on the circle, read its color, and then respond appropriately is next to impossible.

Not only that, but some UI options make reading notes in Gods of Rock a daunting task. There’s a reason games with horizontal notes are usually relegated to one or two input channels – the horizontal note chart is definitely a dyslexia. I found it difficult to read the denser note charts due to the need to focus on four inputs and poor rebind options. Vertical channels can improve the experience tenfold, especially when playing with a keyboard.

I have a few other minor complaints about the UI–the health bar is too far from the annotations, making it difficult to scan and get a quick overview of my and my opponent’s health. While the actual fight taking place in the background is forceful and an odd glimpse, it’s often accompanied by bright white flashes. I got used to it eventually, but it made it harder to read notes for the first hour of the game.

flash dance kick

Gods of Rock’n’ Roll mode is limited; there’s an arcade mode, and each character has some cutely illustrated cutscenes that let you fight your way through the roster. Freeplay mode allows you to play specific songs on the CPU, or play them with other offline players. Finally, the multiplayer mode has ranked and casual lobbies to play against other players online.

(Image credit: Modus Studios)

What struck me the most was how smooth God of Rock’s online multiplayer was. I’ve been in some tournaments with a rhythm and grappling enthusiast. Building the lobby took no time at all, and we were racing together in less than a minute. Once our game is over, we will immediately enter the rematch. As someone who is used to dealing with lengthy rematch loading screens (looking at your Tekken 7), this is a huge blessing.

We were also able to skip directly to a rematch of a randomly selected song so we didn’t have to keep going back to the song list. The only thing I don’t like is that the control of manually selecting songs rests solely with the host. On the plus side, my friend can see me scrolling through the list so we can pick and choose with some communication.

Despite its difficulties, I really enjoyed the charm of God of Rock. Its roster is a colorful assemblage of characters like the cartoonist Edith or the carefree elf Lynn. I like some of their unique interactions in the arcade intro–though I wish these could have been skipped in free-to-play or multiplayer–and the game’s stage design is beautiful, if not a bit out of tune with the tone of the game.

(Image credit: Modus Studios)

Unfortunately, I don’t think God of Rock will catch the attention of hardcore fans of either genre anytime soon. I found it hard to play for more than an hour or two. Getting these two diametrically opposed genres to work well together is a tall order, and Gods of Rock doesn’t quite get the two together. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and it’s clear Modus Games put a lot of love into it, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the developers do in future updates. I do hope it considers some UI tweaks and adding a vertical annotation option – it would make the experience a lot more enjoyable.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.