In single player mode, players will control Sisyphus from Greek mythology along with his boulder through several historical periods. Each level is against a historical or mythological figure of some sort, and the game splits then into offensive and defensive modes. In defense, the player engages in a tower-defense like set-up, placing defenses to destroy or stop the enemy's boulder from reaching your base- the units are described below. Hitting the enemy's rock will knock them around and hurt their rock, which results in it getting small and doing less damage to your units and your gates.
On the offensive, the player takes the role of the rock and has to roll down the hill, avoiding the enemy's carefully placed defenses, and trying to make it to the bottom of their hill to hit their gate. Destroying the enemy units gets the player money that they can spend on their next turn in defensive mode, but does damage to the boulder. There are also shortcuts to take and find so that the player can make up any lost speed from the defenses put in their way. The boulder can also fall of the edge of the course, and though it does no damage to the player, it does eat up time as the game shows them falling and getting placed back onto the world.
Some areas also have special versions of some of the units, which cannot be destroyed and are activated when the player enters a radius around them. These can be large bull-like creatures, clouds that blow a powerful wind, or a cannon that shoots highly-damaging ammunition at the player's boulder.
Upon destroying the gate to the enemy castle, each level ends with rolling through and squishing the enemy leader with a wholly-satisfying squishing sound.
This mode differs from the others as players will not be setting up defenses, but will focus on rolling their boulder around in an attempt to collect points. Unlike War mode, Skeeboulder sets up targets for the players to hit that give them points- but hitting the houses and stone structures doesn't give you points, and instead just slows you down. The end goal is to make it to the bottom of the hill and roll your boulder through a giant Skeeball target, with holes ranging from 1-6 that multiply the score you've racked up throughout the level.
Either online or split-screen, players will go against others in either SkeeBoulder or War mode, going head-to-head to smash each other's gates or just score against each other in SkeeBoulder. Multiplayer SkeeBoulder actually has both players existing on the same field, so players will find themselves knocking each other out of the way to get to the points markers or the score board, and even knocking each other off the playing field.
In this mode, players are given free roam around a track with no enemies and the only obstacles being the pre-programmed houses and towers and the like. As expected, the point of the mode is to roll your rock down to the enemy castle in as little time as possible, going from bronze to gold performance. There are also online leaderboards.
The game takes on a very Monty Python-esque animation style to all the cut scenes and most of the characters (with the exception of the bosses). To those not in the know, this means that the characters are all rather static cut-outs from paintings and art. This all changes by era, too, going from Greek vases to realistic paintings over time (though Sisyphus continues to be a Greek vase figure for all time). The rest of the game has very whimsical look to it, with a lot of vibrant colors and small details that help make even small things like floor tiles pop out- little details like floral patterns or glossy designs that only appear when they're rolled over.
Ages, Enemies and Bosses
As the game progresses, players will roll their rocks through different time periods and battle period-appropriate enemies. Each era also ends with a boss battle, where the player must roll the rock into the weak point of the enemy to kill it. The art style also changes by what era the player is in, going from the black figures of Greek vases to the much more realistically styled Romantic paintings, as inspired by artists such as Francisco Goya. (Where found, the information on the paintings the images come from shall be included in parenthesis).
The game starts with Sisyphus in Tartarus- Sisyphus, who fooled the gods and is cursed to roll a rock up a hill for eternity. But as soon as he gets near the top, the boulder escapes him and he has to start again. Finally, he has enough and turns on Hades, who is overseeing him, breaks through the castle and escapes into the real world.
The black figures common to ancient Greek pottery and vases as well as the vases themselves and ancient Greek architecture are represented in this era. As such, there are a lot of pillars, and the game itself takes on a black and brown look to match it. This is also the only era that doesn't have a boss battle.
The music uses very quick string instruments and some woodwind to create an ancient feel- coupled together with the drums, as well, it makes for an old sounding musical style.
- King Agamemnon in the Sparta map.
- King Leonidas in the Thermopylae map. This area contains a large bull-like creature that will charge your rock if you get too close.
Era spanning through the 4th and 14th centuries. This era uses Byzantine art styles for the cut scenes and characters, and the environment is a lot greener and more natural looking. The pillars and vases of the Greek era are replaced with wood and stone houses, and there are now trees around as obstacles as well. The designs on the floor are also much more flowery.
Music here sounds appropriately Medieval, with drums and recorders going full tilt, and slight vocals to add in the background.
- Justinian on the Tauresium map. (From the Basilica of San Vitale)
- Vlad Tepes on the Wallachia map. (Vlad Tepes, The Impaler, Prince of Wallachia by Anonymous)
- Emperor Charlemagne on the Frankish Empire map.
- Plague in the Vienna map. Vienna has a large cannon in it that can knock players around and do great deals of damage to their rock.
- Boss Battle- Misplaced Megaliths, in which a dragon appears in Stonehenge and must be defeated with a boulder to the chest.
With the rebirth of Aristotle and Plato, the Renaissance is born into being! Pillars and marble return as building material, and trees and plants become more common to see around the playing field. The buildings themselves take on a very elaborate stone style, with ceramic tile roofs being a more common sight as well. The characters are designed in a much more realistic style, taken from some of the great paintings of several Renaissance masters.
Music here is very drum and string heavy.
- Plato and Aristotle in the Trento map. (They count as a single enemy working against the player, so it's not a 2-on-1 match). (School of Athens by Raphael)
- Giovanni de Medici in L'Aguila. This map has one of the large bull creatures. (The Medici Bank, Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici by Agnolo Bronzino)
- Pope Julian II (the War Pope) in Rome. (Julius II by Raphael)
- Leonardo da Vinci in Florence, one of the few areas with water in it. Water will extinguish a Fire Boulder and also slows down player movement.
- Boss Battle- David, Michelangelo's masterpiece, tastefully censored by a fig leaf. The player launches themselves out of cannons to smack him where it hurts.
The development team's inspiration for this level came from Jean-Honoré Fragonard's painting The Swing (1767). The art is much more complex and flowery than any before, and there's a feel of excess to everything, from the sheer amount of leafiness, to the ornate gates and the fact that the levels take place on clouds in the sky. Rose bushes litter the ground, and there's a severe lack of practical buildings- mostly replaced with statues, vases and garden houses. The areas themselves take on a more complex style, being a lot more curved and bumpy than before.
The music is also much more large-orchestra based, with cymbal crashes and and brass instruments accompanying the strings and harpsichords.
- Bacchus in the Dijon map. There is a large cloud here, which will blow you back up the path, or at least off course. (Bacchus by Peter Paul Rubens)
- King Louis XIV on the Paris level. Paris also has a large cloud in the map. (Louis XIV by Hyacinth Rigaud)
- Marie Antoinette on the Angers map. This area has a large cloud and many walls in the way. (Marie Antoinette a la Rose by Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun)
- Michael the Archangel in the Lyon map. A large cloud blocks the map here, as well. (Saint Michael's Alter by Guido Reni)
- Boss Battle- A weird angel baby head in the Heavens. Seriously, it's weird.
The inspiration for this level mainly comes from Goya's works. Set in the latter half of the 18th century, a sense of terror will be invoked via nature. As such, the levels are very rocky, full of hills and fortresses, cannons sticking out of them. The ambient units are also more grotesque, and flower pots and trees are replaced by gallows, guillotines and cages full of men starving to death. A gross face leers from flags placed around the levels, and some of the buildings are merely tents set up for the villagers-though some are rather ornate brick houses as well.
The music is more understated, a slight sense of adventure to it, using mostly string instruments, with some drums and woodwinds thrown in as well. Some choir work is used as well.
- Richelieu on the La Rochelle map. (Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu by Philippe de Champaigne)
- Napoleon in Madrid. Madrid boasts a return of the large horned beast, not seen since L'Aguila. (Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques Louis David)
- Charles III in Porto, a map which also has a river flowing through it. (Portrait of Charles III of Spain by Raphael Mengs)
- The Great He-Goat on the Witches' Sabbath map. This area has a large cannon in it. (The Great He-Goat by Francisco Goya)
- Boss Battle- Chronos, the ancient Greek titan, now in Tartarus, who was defeated by Zeus after he was made to swallow a boulder in place of Zeus. (Cronus by Goya)
Units will be used to defend a player's castle. Each unit is part of a specific class and each class is composed of 3 different units.
Towers are made to force an opponent's boulder to follow a direction the opponent would not want to go.
The units for this category are: pebbles, rocks and animals. Launched via catapult, droppables are used to reroute enemy boulders or to set off explosives.
Flying contraptions are used to block enemy boulders from jumping in a specific location where the contraptions are placed.
Composed of cows, elephants and mammoths, the units of this class are used to defend the player's property by chasing and pushing enemy boulders away.
The structures that compose this class will gradually increase the amount of gold the player has once placed.
Fans are used to blow enemy boulders out of the way.
These units fire projectiles at an opponent, damaging the enemy boulder.
There are several different types of boulder; all of them behave identically, and their differences are purely aesthetic. They include:
- Face - the default boulder
- Fist - for the more aggressive player
- Ram's head - give 'em the horns!
- Pumpkin - added in the Halloween update, and the only boulder that has a non-stone texture
There are five upgrades players may make use of in the game, and each one can be used only once in each match. They also cost money, which is something that the player must plan for when making their offensive maps, and are also destructible. They act as a first layer to the rock, so when enough damage is inflicted to knock that layer off, the power-up goes with it.
The upgrades include:
- Regular boulder, which is a regular boulder.
- Iron boulder, which gives it an extra layer of defense. This one acts as an extra layer above the three the rock usually has, and can take in a good many hits.
- Fire boulder does double damage. In the few levels with water, though, it can be put out, leaving behind a weird, orange rock.
- Winged boulder gives you a double jump that adds some lift and length to a jump. Good for collecting keys or making some especially tricky shortcuts.
- Petroleum boulders are covered in oil and, when the player bounces, the oil splashes everywhere. If the boulder is on the land where an enemy could potentially build a structure, this destroys the land and makes it unusable.
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
- Processor: Dual Core 1.6 GHz or better
- Memory: 1.5 GB or higher
- Graphics: 256mb video ram or better (GeForce 7 series or higher/Radeon HD3000 series or higher) DirectX®: 9.0c Hard Drive: 1.2 GB
- Sound: Windows supported Sound Card
- Internet: Online play requires Broadband Internet Connection