XBLIG Review: Rock Bottom – Aptly Named Indie Game

Not only are story-based games sometimes rare on XBLIG, but sequels to story based games are like dualicorns (that’s a unicorn with two horns, i.e. freaking rare).  Rock Bottom is the sequel to the surprisingly successful XBLIG “Get Rich or Die Gaming,” which involved a guy selling drugs after being kicked out of his house for gaming and ultimately winding up in jail.  Rock Bottom starts with you attempting to break out of jail and climb to the top of a fictional board game company named after the actual developers of Rock Bottom.

Primarily a point and click adventure game, Rock Bottom is definitely an aesthetic improvement over its predecessor but the game suffers from three major problems: some of the visuals are just sloppy, the voice acting is about as pleasant as a cat in a blender and oh yeah, the game isn’t fun to play.  Rock Bottom does attempt to make up for this with humor, and while there are a few funny moments, it mostly just falls flat on its ass.

That may be the most blunt paragraph I’ve written as a game reviewer.

Scantly clad security guard stands between you and... oh who cares?

Now to dissect the corpse; Perhaps I’m in the wrong state of mind for Rock Bottom, having not played the first game I had no expectations in terms of quality, good or bad.  So while the game may be mostly an upgrade, certain elements strike me not so much as bad but lazy.  Things such as animated some character mouths and not others; this is something that happens when you get tired of the tedious work it requires and decide it is “good enough” to just leave the rest.  These kinds of things bug me though, and I’m guessing they bug some of you.  I actually would have been less annoyed had none of the characters been animated.  Beyond that, some of the environments and characters seem to have had much more time spent on them than others, making the game aesthetically unbalanced (fancy talk for ugly).

A "cinematic" from the game is possibly the best looking part

Next, the voice acting.  In fairness, some of these people actually give some fairly solid reads of the material they have been given.  Unfortunately, even the best performances are consistently interrupted by the main character who sounds as if he was reading these lines, to himself, in his room with no one else to direct him on the quality of his performance. Considering that most of the game consist of interacting with people (i.e., hearing them talk) this makes for a very long gaming experience tied up in roughly a thirty minute game.

Best character in the game. He serves absolutely no point.

Third, the terrible gameplay.  Now I don’t inherently hate point and click games (unlike some of my fellow game reviewers), there is a certain fun to be had with them and there are some that manage to be even somewhat addicting (A couple of the CSI games come to mind).  Rock Bottom is not one of these.  The game’s “puzzles” primarily consist of walking from one area to another and eventually picking up an object that was likely not there the first time you went in (or required little effort to figure out).  Most of these make objectives make no sense at all, and you are likely to just move the cursor around blindly tapping A to figure out what you need to do, but they are simple and keep the game moving.  Then you get to the “third level” of the game where suddenly the developer thought to try and actually make it more difficult.  Here you must combine items, all of which are found in one spot and the combination of makes little sense.  To be bluntly honest, I spent the overwhelming majority of my time with Rock Bottom in this one part of the level attempting to figure out just what I was supposed to do.  Had it not been for Baller Industries posting a walkthrough shortly before I went to get some art assets for this review, I would have ended the game on that note.  Ultimately I did finish the game and in the end it was anti-climatic and had an ending that simply required picking dialogue.  Woo, freaking hoo.

No caption really needed.

Rock Bottom’s one attempt at saving grace, as I said before, is humor.  There are a few funny moments in the game, but most of the jokes come down to really bad or gross jokes that aren’t even funny because of how bad or gross they are.  Of course, terrible voice acting delivering these jokes doesn’t help the cause.  Now, I like Jay and Silent Bob and the American Pie films (well the first three anyway) so I get the appeal of the crude humor style, this just isn’t very funny.  I feel like even 13 year old me would have barely chuckled at some of these attempts at humor.

Rock Bottom gets a few points for trying, and there are a couple moments that might make you laugh, which is worth something.  Ultimately though, the game lacks enough redeeming qualities to really do anything other than ironically pull a rock bottom score.  If you enjoy the style of humor you might get a more out of this, same could be said for those who absolutely love point and click games, but for the rest (and I imagine vast majority) Rock Bottom can easily be passed on.

Final Rating: 3/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: Xbox 360
Time to completion: Maybe 30 minutes if you figure out what you are doing quickly.
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: N/A – Copy furnished by Baller Industries
Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price: Doesn’t get any cheaper.
Why you should buy it: You know what BDSM stands for, and like it.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: The last two pages of text I took the time to write out for you, you bast…

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About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.