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Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! review

Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! review
Shawn Mills avatar image

Solid score for bangin’ classic-styled cartoon comedy adventure

It’s a long way to the top (if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll) and Teddy, the 47-year-old diabetic who still dreams of making it big in the music world has never made it to the top. But after coming to from a suspected drug overdose on the floor of a grimy bar, this broke, middle-aged living teddy bear who can only look on in envy at other artists with Money for Nothing decided that now is the time to get his old band back together. Don’t Stop Believing, Teddy. After all, you were Born to be Wild.

(That’s the last song pun, I promise).

The story of Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! is pretty loose, hanging on a well-worn premise, but what initially appears to be a simple task of convincing the other three members of Jüngle Riöt to join a reunion tour takes a lot of twists and turns along the way. Jüngle Riöt was a minor act in the 80s heyday of hair metal who experienced no major successes, and each member has since gone their separate way. Only Teddy has kept the faith and continued to pursue his musical career. The journey to reform the band is filled with sex, drugs and of course rock ‘n’ roll, and you’ll experience almost everything you would expect of a wannabe rock star, from practicing in sordid basements to getting in trouble with the law. As with its protagonist, the game suffers a bit from its “starving artist” limitations, but for the most part it’s a riot!

When a game is based around the premise of rock music, the first thing we should notice is the soundtrack, and in this area Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! succeeds impressively. It’s to be expected that an indie adventure wouldn’t have licensed music for budgetary reasons, but it’s not missed here because of the excellent guitar-driven heavy metal music that plays continuously throughout certain scenes – think Black Sabbath or AC/DC in style. And it’s not just the background score; Teddy’s band will play sometimes and their music consists of that same 70s and 80s heavy rock sound.

While all of this rock music is excellent and suits the scenes in which it’s played, there is more depth and variety showcased in scenes with a completely different musical vibe. When you visit rocker Angus Beef’s apartment, the track heard in his apartment is composed of jazz piano and double bass. Turns out that although he’s one of the most famous rockers in the world, this anthropomorphic bull secretly has a love of jazz music that you don’t realise about him at first, the score being the only hint of his private non-rocking life. Another character you’ll meet is Ol' Blind Bessie McDairy, a failed blues guitarist who is now busking on the street, and the music is modern blues that brings to mind Eric Clapton and his ilk.

The rest of the soundscape, unfortunately, isn’t able to reach the same lofty heights as the music. The effects here are all well-recorded and suit the actions they accompany, but there are just way too few of them. For each flushing toilet or opening of a door, there is silence when you throw something at a bar window, or move a painting, or open a safe. It’s not the biggest gripe, but it does serve to pull you out of the immersion that every other aspect of the game works so hard to build.

My biggest complaint about the audio, however, is the character voices. There are none. While again this is completely understandable from a game where every aspect was created by a single person (Valtteri Tavast), the absence of voice acting is really very noticeable here. So much care has been taken to develop each character, their personalities would absolutely shine through with good voice acting.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! is a world made up of anthropomorphic characters, and there are a lot of them. One of the highlights is that each character feels like a real fleshed-out person with their own backstory. Teddy’s bandmate Leo is a now-overweight lion, depressed since his wife left him and these days the only songs he writes are for his young daughter. Demon, a rabbit, was the guitarist of the group who has since become a successful lawyer, with two children who attend the same school as Leo’s daughter. Leo and Demon keep in touch as they both serve on the PTA together. Apeshit, the primate drummer of the group, is in hospital after breaking his hip slipping at a bingo hall.

More secondary characters include the paparazzi who are portrayed as vultures, the sexy feline love interest of Teddy’s, and a plumber who is a beaver (and who bears a remarkable resemblance to Luigi of Super Mario Bros. fame). Each of these characters, and the many more throughout the journey, are all well-written and enjoyable and their dialog is sharp and witty, full of dad jokes and a humorous level of crudity and innuendo.

Each of the character animations is nicely delivered as well, with a cartoon cel-shaded look filled with pastel colours. Again, the attention to detail is very evident in Teddy in particular, although all the characters are skilfully drawn with lots of details. Teddy looks just like the aging (bear) rocker you expect him to be: the long hair, the red Axl Rose bandana, studded bracers, leather jacket, and tattoos adorning his body. The police officer (a pig, of course) has a beard and wears a full navy blue uniform with brass badges and visible rank insignia on his sleeves. All these details really help to make this world seem real and lived-in.

And yet, in a similar manner to the audio, the downside to the visual presentation is that there are minimal animations for each character. Teddy only has left and right walk cycles; anything up or down simply reuses these same animations, a distraction somewhat offset only by the fact that the characters are all quite large so there is less room to move around anyway. There’s no arm movement when walking, although there is some cartoon-like bouncing when people move, which is most noticeable with Teddy as the protagonist. Actions like picking something up or moving something on a wall are generally serviced with a simple arm-raising motion.

The environments are another graphical highlight. There is such a great variety of locations to visit, from dingy basements, bars and apartment blocks to prisons and cemeteries. Each is drawn in the same cel-shaded cartoon style, using great colour choices that enhance the scene without being overbearing, and both animation and backgrounds fit seamlessly together.

Again, the attention to detail is what really makes these scenes stand out. In the music store where an up-and-coming guitarist named Mutt is jamming, there are all the usual instruments you’d expect, along with a cabinet of guitar effects pedals, a cool-looking three-handled guitar hanging on the wall, and the obligatory notice board for people selling old instruments, something you would find in any quality music store. There are also some closeup shots of the characters at important story points throughout the game, including an especially memorable one of a very drunk Teddy annoying a snake and bird couple who are on a first date.

The controls for Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! couldn’t be simpler: a single-click will either guide Teddy around, or if the cursor is over an item that you can interact with, Teddy will do so. Although there isn’t a hotspot highlighter, there is no pixel hunting either so it really isn’t missed. Recording your progress involves old-school manual saving, and there are 29 achievements to unlock through Steam. The same witty writing spills over to them, as they are each named after a rock song.

Most of the puzzles are inventory-based, and moving the cursor to the top of the screen will bring up the items you are carrying. When Teddy is trying to convince someone to join his newly reformed band, he is met with scepticism about whether he really is a heavy rocker, so to convince him Teddy assembles a bass guitar setup, complete with amplifier, instrument, and distortion pedal. This isn’t an overly difficult puzzle – none of the puzzles here are – but they all make sense within the rock ‘n’ roll world Teddy inhabits, and each advances the story rather than feeling tacked on simply to increase the playing time.

Final Verdict

Divided into three acts, each taking two to three hours to complete, Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! was a pleasure to play, allowing its simple story to develop without feeling rushed. It’s so well-balanced that there was never a moment in the eight hours it took me to finish that dragged or didn’t have something to make me laugh or at least smile. Even with its mostly budget-related shortcomings, in the end none of them really matter too much because the experience is fun and enjoyable enough to overlook them. I love heavy metal music, so the topic appeals to me on that level as well, with plenty of nods and references throughout that kept me entertained. But even if you don’t share the same interest in music, most adventure fans will surely finish this game and happily declare that It’s Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It).

Hot take


Amusingly written and simply enjoyable to play, this isn’t just an adventure for heavy rock fans. Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die! may have a few flaws, but it’s a wild ride that should appeal to any adventure game fan looking for a light and engaging story.


  • Original music is amazing and surprisingly varied
  • Cartoon-style artwork perfectly suits this offbeat adventure
  • Attention to detail is impressive
  • Characters are well-written with witty dialog and humorous dad jokes throughout


  • The lack of specific animations reduces the immersion
  • No voices and only limited sound effects

Shawn played Rock 'n' Roll Will Never Die! on PC using a review code provided by the game's publisher.


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