Every game, with all its enemies and doors and health bars and platforms, has a set pace. A pace in how they move, when they move, how fast they move. And that pace, the pace of everything on screen, dictates the pace that the player can plan out their moves and it dictates the window that the player has to perform their plan. But when the pace of everything on the screen is rhythmic, meaning that the pacing matches a particular interval, is matched by the rhythm of the player to plan and perform within the window that the game gives then a sort of harmonic resonance can develop between the player and the game, and that can be a wonderful feeling to have.
I’ve always had a soft spot for music games. The synchronous harmony of action and rhythmic reward, getting your movements in tune with the game. For many games, it’s not about progress through the game, but progress of the self. You can get to the end of the level on easy mode, but have you developed your reaction, fluidity equaling dexterity to get through the medium difficulty or harder? It’s about challenging yourself at the same pace as the music as much developing the skill and time-specific accuracy that makes me enjoy music games, in general.
The formula helps create a deeper immersive-connection to the game as you play it because you’re forced to involve more senses to interact with one another and influence one another. In this case, you’re forcing your ears and your eyes to influence your movements and reaction time because every action corresponds to some beat.
But that doesn’t mean traditional music games are the only kids in the playground that try to force a player to express themselves with the rhythm that they exclaim.
The game came out about a month ago on Early Access Steam (7/30) and I didn’t know how I wanted to approach the game at first. The game is fun, the music is addicting but I found myself turning away from playing it from time to time. For a rogue-like, it does its job of creating a high-replayability by having generated dungeons for all stages, daily challenges, and different playthrough experiences because of the randomized weapons, power-ups and enemies.
What I was shying away from was the other part of rogue-like games, the “keep you on your toes” part. The game’s mechanics are simple. You move to the beat. You attack to the beat. You create paths through walls to the beat. But this also means that you learn about your enemies to the beat. Once you get past the first few enemies learned through the tutorial, you quickly find enemies where you don’t know their attack patterns and movements. Normally, when you come across something that you’ve not experienced prior, you can take your time to figure out how to approach these kinds of enemies, but with the restrictions of actions per beat, timed length of the song/stages and other enemies trying to eat your face by throwing their heads in your direction, it makes it difficult to learn and understand an enemy. It makes it even more frustrating when you die to that enemy and you haven’t learned a gosh-dern thing about how or why you died.