With rock puns such as A Vulgar Display of Shower, Nothing Else Mattress and Appetite for Construction, I have been in wordplay heaven in Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die!, a point and click adventure currently available on Steam.
You play a washed-out hair metal teddy, waking on a toilet floor with the ultimate motivation of ‘getting the band back together’. If you look up anti-hero, he’s one of them. He’s selfish, self-centred, egotistical, vulgar, and brilliant. How to be a complete and utter bastard? This is where you begin.
However, let us say that the narrative here is a little… loose. That’s not bad, but the frequency of u-turns in the story made this resemble something for the MTV generation – y’know, when they played music all day with shorts by Bill Plympton, mock moon landings, and all that other animated eye candy, fingering the synapses. Getting the band back together is not an easy feat.
Music is subjective and what-not, but the soundtrack in Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! was a bit hit and miss. It could have done with a few more sound FX and, if we’re really going to town, voiceovers. BUTT… this is an indie title, so there’ll be some budget restraints, but more importantly: you wouldn’t have been able to read the dialogue for yourself – one of my favourites this year.
Yes, I have a bias towards rock and the fact that it’s comedy-focused, but the humour here (also subjective) is hilarious and possibly one of the best scripts in a point and click. I find that some of the funniest things don’t necessarily have me laughing out loud, but I do retain particular scenes or quips – and this is full of them.
We’re not talking about specific point and click in-jokes but witty observations – first-hand experience from the developer’s own rock path. See Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! through to its conclusion, and one has to wonder how much of it is real. This is epic. In short, developer Valtteri Tavast does EVERYTHING in the game. A project three years in the making. This is the epitome of an auteur (I should know, I wrote my dissertation on one).
The dialogue is a deluge of puns, metal references, and smashing that fourth wall with such ferocity, health and safety need to check your helmet for insurance purposes. On top of that, without milking the cliche vat when it has the opportunity to do so. Despite having a few reservations at the length (that’s what she said), there was never a moment where there was a lull in the entertainment value – at the least, the absurdity of these set pieces and the comedy that accompanies them.
And while we’re showering them with praise, let’s note the hand-drawn illustrations – they’re brilliant. The outlining is great, character designs and choice of colours are all fantastic. As pointed out in the preview write-up, there is some janky animation and tearing when moving in extended scenes, but it doesn’t spoil the experience – at least, not for me.
So what about the puzzles of Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! Do they, erm… rock? Yes and no. They’re a little too easy in places. Any areas of difficulty mostly meant returning to a scene and repeating an action for an updated result, finding a new bit of dialogue or trying an item with an NPC. The usual sort of thing for a point and click then. A handful of times, there were the odd puzzles that usually stump me, but I often did them the first time. A hotspot key is lacking in the game, but there are options to skip some minigames.
In that sense, Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! is about storytelling and experience rather than challenging gameplay. That may make or break your opinion of the game, but it was a superb experience for me. I had an inkling it would end any moment due to the speed of going through puzzles. From the world map, there are only a handful of places to visit at a time, and they alternate through progression. It was almost like being on the edge of my seat thinking, “Shit. That’s it, isn’t it?”. I’m pleased to say that it was much lengthier than expected, and it’s bigger than most adventure games. In the time it took me to finish this – about 11 hours, I’d completed Crowns and Pawns twice.
The length dragged for me a bit, purely on a review basis. I aim to complete my reviews within a reasonable amount of time, but I got a bit sidetracked due to my current workload. Within this context, there were moments of frustration – purely because I was getting behind. Objectively speaking to my fellow adventurers, this spells v-a-l-u-e. Yes, I have a few suggestions for improvements, but they aren’t necessary: Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! gets two thumbs up from me. You need to play Valtteri’s game if you have a sense of humour, like to rawk, and consider alcohol part of your 5-a-day.