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rhythm games

Rock Band 4 made me forget that I suck at rhythm games

Sep 09 // Alissa McAloon
During my time with the game I was perfectly content to just smash out different notes on the guitar and see what sounded best, but more skillful players should note that there is an art to creating solos. Switching notes at the right time or using certain strums with certain chords all create different and unique sounds. The notes themselves may change slightly to fit with the key of certain songs, but those patterns do not. With a little time and effort, players can figure out how to create specific tunes in Freestyle Solos and create their own finely crafted guitar solos from scratch. Playing around with solos, both in the training modes and in actual songs, made me feel like I was actually good at the game. The half hour I spent with Rock Band 4 marked the most positive experience I've ever had with a music game of any kind. As someone who is chronically clumsy with any sort of rhythm game, this endorsement doesn't come lightly. I can only imagine what some of those hardcore Rock Band players will be able to do with Freestyle Solos when the game releases for PS4 and Xbox One on October 6. 
Rock Band 4 photo
Freestyle solos are way too much fun
[Disclosure: Nick Chester, who is currently employed at Harmonix, previously worked at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the preview.] Rock Band 4 is spearheading the rhyt...

Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

Guitar Hero Live expands its setlist with Pearl Jam and Lamb of God

And too many Crazyfists
Sep 08
// Brett Makedonski
It seems like just yesterday that it was announced, but we're getting dangerously close to Guitar Hero Live's October 20 release. It's basically fall -- the weather's cooling down, the kids are back in school, and this game i...

Review: Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX

Sep 04 // Kyle MacGregor
Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX (Nintendo 3DS)Developer: SegaPublisher: SegaRelease Date: September 8, 2015MSRP: $39.99 While Miku's looks will never fade with age, she certainly has received a bit of a makeover in her latest outing. In Project Mirai DX, a spin-off of Sega's successful Project DIVA series for Nintendo 3DS, the digital singer and her band of vocaloid pals sport a super deformed chibi aesthetic.  Inspired by Nendoroid toys, the characters all feature massive, distended heads and petite frames, reminiscent of toddlers. The new art direction is one I can't say I'm terribly fond of, as it gives rise to some awkward moments where the infantile performers unadvisedly attempt to exude sex appeal.  The new look isn't the only notable change to the established formula, though, as the rhythm game portion of the package has seen some revisions. The basic premise is the same, with notes flying in from off-screen, challenging players to keep time with the beat of the music. Players must either press specific buttons or tap the correct portion of the touch screen at certain times, the accuracy of which (in the aggregate) will determine the level of one's success or failure. The touch controls are a new and entirely optional way to play the game. On easy mode, players will tap a single circular area on the portable's lower screen, with each subsequent difficulty level adding another zone to tap on. This initially seems more forgiving than using the buttons, but on normal and hard mode, with multiple areas to worry about, I actually found this was more challenging. Keeping track of the action on the top screen while needing to tap certain sectors below can be quite the feat, particularly in an up-tempo song when the notes are coming in rather quickly. The touch controls can also be rather finicky, though. It's not only easy to tap the wrong portion of the screen, but sometimes the inputs don't seem to register at all. At other times, the game will ask the player to slide the stylus in a particular direction, which can be difficult if you are already pointing at the edge of the surface and are asked to move in a direction where there's no room to go. In contrast with the Project DIVA titles, where notes fly in from every which way to a variety of targets, Project Mirai introduces a single rail system, which I actually found to be a helpful change in most instances. There are times where this can be convoluted, with a crowded rail looping in on itself, or seemingly unfair, where the speed will change at a moments notice and throw off your rhythm, but for the most part it seems to be a better, more straightforward system. Another aspect where Project Mirai is remarkable is the sheer amount of content included in the package. The rhythm game mode vaunts 48 tracks in total, which span all sorts of genres and visual themes with minimal repetition, keeping the experience fresh and varied throughout. There are a lot of secondary aspects of the experience, which didn't necessarily appeal to me, but at the same time don't take anything away from the game. You can play dress-up and house with a selection of characters. There are mini-games and a somewhat limited mode that allows you to design your own compositions. By far my favorite throw-in, though, is PuyoPuyo 39!, a fun little Miku-themed version of Sega's tile-matching puzzle game that even incorporates local competitive play. One thing Project DIVA veterans might not appreciate about Project Mirai is it's a much easier and more lenient experience. On the other hand, some people find those games to be incredibly difficult and have a high barrier for entry. Personally, I was just fine with the challenge on the hard setting, but some rhythm game masters may be left feeling wanting for more in that area. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX retains the essence of the Project DIVA series, but it's definitely its own unique thing. It may not appeal to all fans of the vocaloid songstress' previous work, and it's certainly my least favorite outing of hers in the realm of games. However, that all said, I still generally enjoyed my time with Project Mirai. Despite its missteps, this is a decent game that has a lot to offer for both rhythm game enthusiasts and Miku devotees alike. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Hatsune Miku 3DS review photo
In many respects, Hatsune Miku symbolizes my interest in Japan. It doesn't matter how much I learn about the virtual pop star or the amazing/bizarre subculture that has taken root around her; it's tough to imagine ever truly ...

Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

The Rock Band 4 disc will cost $20 extra on Xbox One

All due to wireless protocol
Aug 24
// Brett Makedonski
Those who plan to play Rock Band 4 on Xbox One with their instruments from Xbox 360 will have to pay a bit for the privilege. As it turns out, the standalone Rock Band 4 disc will cost $80 instead of $60. That price...
Rhythm Tengoku photo
Rhythm Tengoku

Rhythm Tengoku: The Best + features an appropriate crossover

Pose for the fans
Aug 23
// Jonathan Holmes
Not too long ago, I asked you all if you were getting sick of Nintendo's near constant release of crossovers. The answer was a resounding "Nope!" Excited reactions to Super Mario Maker's multiple crossovers have worked to bac...
ATLUS photo

Persona 4: Dancing All Night launches in Europe this November

Not the worst delay, I suppose
Aug 22
// Kyle MacGregor
Persona 4: Dancing All Night is coming to Europe on November 6, NIS America has announced. As per usual (as far as Atlus goes), the PlayStation Vita-exclusive rhythm game's PAL version is launching a tad later than its North American counterpart, which debuts September 29.
Yo-kai Watch photo
Yo-kai Watch

Here's your first taste of the Yo-kai Watch Just Dance mashup

Level-5 and Ubisoft together at last
Aug 19
// Chris Carter
You've heard of the Yo-kai Watch Just Dance mashup, now you can see it in all its glory. In short, it's the wonderful art of Yo-kai mixed with the garish "humans" from Just Dance -- in other words, exactly...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Rock Band 4's latest big addition is Van Halen

Aug 17
// Brett Makedonski
Not recognizing a majority of music in games has been a running theme this year. Guitar Hero Live largely falls victim to this. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 definitely does. Fortunately, Rock Band 4 does not. Harm...
Free Persona DLC photo
Free Persona DLC

Persona 4: Dancing All Night swimsuit set free the first week

No Kanji swimsuit though
Aug 14
// Steven Hansen
Persona 4: Dancing All Night's ladies swimsuit DLC will be free during the rhythm game's first week of release (it comes out September 29). After October 5, the costume pack will cost money. Unfortunately, this free DLC does...
Miku photo

I still can't believe Miku is in Persona 4: Dancing All Night

But I'm not complaining
Aug 12
// Chris Carter
Persona 4: Dancing All Night looks rad -- really rad. And it's getting even more rad with the inclusion of Hatsune Miku, a clear effort to link Atlus and Sega, who I constantly still forget is under its wing. This newest tra...
Chrvches play Rock Band 4 photo
Chrvches play Rock Band 4

Wow, I'm better at Rock Band than Chvrches is!

But they're still famous, so whatever
Aug 10
// Nic Rowen
I take every opportunity to watch real musicians play Rock Band that I can, I'm always interested to see how they'll do. Especially when it happens to be one of my favorite acts. Extra especially when they're playing a Rock ...
ATLUS photo

These Persona 4: Dancing All Night remixes are hot!

But I still prefer the originals
Aug 09
// Kyle MacGregor
I'm sure most Atlus fans would agree one of the Persona series' greatest strengths is its music. The studio's in-house composer Shogi Meguro and his crew do brilliant work, which makes the idea of an entire game dedicated to...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Piss off your neighbors by singing Fall Out Boy's 'Centuries' (and 16 other Rock Band 4 songs)

Or just be really good at singing, jerk
Aug 03
// Zack Furniss
More Rock Band 4 songs! With music tastes as varied as they are, it's hard to say whether you'll all be excited by the new songs that Harmonix is teasing this time. Personally, I'll enjoy crooning "Fever" by The Black Ke...
Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

Singing confirmed for Guitar Hero Live

A better look at the in-game festivals
Aug 03
// Chris Carter
Guitar Hero Live could end up being a pretty neat experiment, and if Activision sticks to its word of not annualizing the franchise, I'll be happy. You can get a look at the in-game festivals (Rock the Block and SoundDi...
Dancing ALL Night photo
Dancing ALL Night

Persona 4: Dancing All Night trailer rocks faces with Kung-Fu dance

Chie busts out her steak powers
Jul 30
// Brett Makedonski
Chie insists that saving people in danger is her thing. I'd contend that dancing is her thing. She sure does a lot of dancing and not a lot of saving people in this trailer. Well, unless handing out unsolicited motivational ...
Rhythm Thief photo
Rhythm Thief

Rhythm Thief on iOS is getting shut down this September

It's one of those online-only games
Jul 29
// Chris Carter
Rhythm Thief & The Paris Caper is the latest casualty of war in Sega's efforts to purge its mobile catalog for quality concerns. As of today nothing may be purchased within the app, and on September 28, 2015, it will be c...
ATLUS photo

Persona 4: Dancing All Night gets a release date

Taking the stage September 29
Jul 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Persona 4: Dancing All Night launches in North America on September 29, Atlus has confirmed. The rhythm game has been out in Japan since late June and is planned for an autumn release in Europe, where NIS America is handling ...
P4D x Hatsune Miku photo
P4D x Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku joins Persona 4: Dancing All Night

A match made in Heaven
Jul 23
// Kyle MacGregor
In case you were wondering just how long it would take for Sega and Atlus to finally cross streams, Hatsune Miku is making a guest appearance in Persona 4: Dancing All Night. The digital diva will perform a remix of "Hea...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Dust off your Robert Smith voice for 11 new Rock Band 4 tracks

And some Grohl for your soul
Jul 13
// Brett Makedonski
I don't care if Monday's blue, Tuesday's gray and Wednesday, too. Today, I have new Rock Band 4 tracks for you, and Friday I'm in love. Harmonix has expounded upon its ever-growing set list for Rock Band 4 by reveal...
Rhythm of Fighters photo
Rhythm of Fighters

Download SNK's The Rhythm of Fighters before it's delisted

Disappearing July 15, 2015
Jul 10
// Jordan Devore
We've got less than a week to download The Rhythm of Figthers - SNK Original Sound Collection before SNK Playmore removes the game from the Apple App Store and Google Play. The company thanked fans for their support but did n...
Crypt of the NecroDancer photo
Crypt of the NecroDancer

Crypt of the NecroDancer headed to PS4 and Vita

Dance Dance PlayStation
Jul 10
// Darren Nakamura
Well this is nice. Previously available only for Linux, Mac, and Windows, Crypt of the NecroDancer is now on its way to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Brace Yourself Games' community manager Heather Wilson made the annou...
Persona 4 Dancing photo
Persona 4 Dancing

Persona 4: Dancing All Night coming to Europe without delay

We shared the same mad potion
Jun 30
// Kyle MacGregor
It looks like Persona 4: Dancing All Night might arrive simultaneously (or close to it) across Europe and America, as NIS has followed Atlus' lead, announcing the rhythm game for a "Fall 2015" launch. In addition to the stand...
IA/VT Colorful photo
IA/VT Colorful

Senran Kagura dev's new game isn't coming west

Music licensing to blame
Jun 28
// Kyle MacGregor
Marvelous' upcoming rhythm game IA/VT Colorful isn't likely to receive a localization.  Speaking with Siliconera in a recent interview, producer Kenichiro Takaki, best known for his work on the Senran Kagura se...
ATLUS photo

Persona 4: Dancing All Night opening movie

Scorpion something true now...
Jun 25
// Kyle MacGregor
No lie, I've been listening to Persona 4: Dancing All Night's main theme, "Dance!," on repeat since playing the game at E3 last week. It's just so danged infectious. I'm this close to importing the game -- which just came ou...

Persona 4 goes full Miku in Dancing All Night

Jun 20 // Kyle MacGregor
This is all a set-up for a rhythm game, where the spotlight shines on Atlus composer Shoji Meguro's infectious tunes, including some new tracks to go along with remixes of old favorites.  Persona 4: Dancing All Night's gameplay is reminiscent of Sega's Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA series, which makes sense given the tiles were both created in part by the same studio, Dingo. Unlike the Project DIVA games, where the notes fly in from off-screen toward the center, Atlus is taking the opposite approach with Dancing All Night. Star-shaped objects appear and fly from the center of the middle of the screen toward six points on the outer edges of a ring, all of which correspond to parts of the D-pad and individual face buttons. As rhythm game veterans know very well, how you time your button presses as the notes fly into these zones will impact how well you score. There are various levels of difficulty to select between, so fans of the genre can challenge themselves while those just looking for a new Persona story can breeze through the stages with less resistance.  As you tap along with the beat, familiar faces like Kanji and Chie will groove out to the music on the Midnight Stage while Shadows look on the in audience. Eventually, the stages will culminate in a Persona summon, which I got a real kick out of. Seeing (the main protagonist) Yu's partner Izanagi jam out on a bass guitar put a big smile on my face. Atlus also showed us the game running on a PlayStation TV, which might be a tad more challenging than playing it in the palm of your hands on the Vita depending on how far away you sit from your screen. Since we were pretty close to the monitor during our demo, this required us to rely heavily on our peripheral vision, which added a layer of challenge. Whether it's an RPG, fighter, or rhythm game, more Persona is always a good thing in my book and seeing Persona 4: Dancing All Night in action this week at E3 has me no less excited about the game. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of it when it finally launches sometime this fall.
P4D preview photo
Just set it free and dance!
It's been months since the Investigation Team cracked the case and life is getting back to normal. That is, until members of Rise Kujikawa's J-pop group suddenly go missing. And, surprise, surprise: The rescue mission brings ...

Guitar Hero Live rocks out with a fresher focus

Jun 16 // Alessandro Fillari
Guitar Hero Live (PlayStation 4 [previewed], Playstation 3, Wii U,  Xbox 360, Xbox One, Mobile)Developer: FreeStyle GamesPublisher: ActivisionRelease date: October 20, 2015 First and foremost, if you're a longtime fan of the series that may have felt burned by the last title, Warriors of Rock, you'll be pleased to know that the series has gone back to the basics to keep the focus on jamming out to a variety of tunes ranging from heavy metal, classic rock, and pulsating new metal. While on the surface Guitar Hero Live looks to be a massive departure from the rest of the series, it's very much in line with what was present in the earlier titles. This is purely about the music and experience of building your own personal rocker profile. As you may have seen from the reveal trailers, they've incorporated real video into Guitar Hero this time around. When selecting some of the classics or new tunes, you'll be treated to actual music videos or even concert footage of the band while you play. This is in keeping with the new television aesthetic and architecture that Guitar Hero Live utilizes. Gone are the bizarre storylines and cartoonish visuals showing off your character as they rise from garage-band amateur to international rock star, and in its place is a focus on realism to keep you invested in the songs and the experiences of being a guitar god. During Guitar Hero's absence, the developers have refined the gameplay and tweaked many aspects. The biggest change made is that you can't outright fail songs. As vets know, missing too many notes will fail the song, resulting in game over. In Guitar Hero Live, players that perform poorly can still finish the song. The folks working on the game felt that failing players resulted them in losing interest, so botching songs will only affect your overall score. This gives players the chance to save their performance should they struggle in some spots. Moreover, if players want to take a break during the song, all they'll have to do is stop playing and the song will revert to an attract mode. It's neat, and I feel GHL will be much more welcoming to newcomers. In the two central modes, Live and TV, the game goes about building the rocker experience in different ways; one from the side of media, and the other from in the shoes of a guitar player during a concert. The TV mode will definitely be where most of the action happens. Think of it as the online, multiplayer, and career modes all rolled into one. When in TV mode, you can engage in daily and premium challenges that task you with tackling certain songs to acquire in-game currency and play tokens. Much like cable or satelite television, the TV mode is essentially mix of on-demand and scheduled content. With multiple channels, you'll be able to view the current schedule of upcoming songs that are available to play. If there's one you like, you can jump right in and play. In real time, each 'program' plays a certain genre of music or focuses on a particular band, and is set for half an hour. If there's nothing on the channel's schedule that you like, just switch over to another and check to see what's on. I was impressed with the presentation, and it felt like was tuned to a parallel universe where MTV didn't focus on reality TV and kept with the music. It even made some of the programs feel like events, as you can plan ahead and bring friends over at certain time to rock out. If the channels aren't doing it for you, then you can switch over to the on-demand menu and choose the available songs to add to you playlist and experience at your leisure. Like the previous titles, the base game will come packed with existing songs, and more will be added later. However, the on-demand takes a slightly different approach. While you can play whatever song is present in the menu, they require play tokens for you to add to your playlist. Play tokens are acquired from just playing normally, and you'll accumulate them often. However, if you run out of play tokens, you're unable to play songs on the playlist. If you want to avoid using the tokens -- using them won't technically give you the song -- you can purchase the song outright and make a part of your permanent collection. I suspect this feature draw some ire from fans. While I understand it on an economic level, I feel this can be very annoying for anyone who likes to binge. By my count, there were three different forms of currency in the game: GH credits, real money credits, and play tokens, which will definitely bother people further. While there isn't a cap on play tokens, which can be purchased in bulk from the Guitar Hero store if you don't want to grind, I feel that the system of purchasing that's in place will confuse and annoy people. Thankfully, there are many features to keep players busy. The online mode is robust. Players can compete online against others in real time. During scheduled programs, players will be able to compete for the high score, with the current leader ranks being shown to the left of the screen. There will be many top dogs online, so in order to compete you'll have to make upgrades to your guitar. Using in-game credits acquired from daily challenges and tackling challenging songs, you can invest in a more sophisticated setup. Many of these upgrades range from score multipliers and other boosts to effectiveness. Thankfully, upgrades can only be purchased with in-game currency (which can only be acquired from in-game activity). With the currency, you can also purchase new highways and player cards for further customization. While most of the action will likely be spent in the TV mode, the brand new Live mode offers something a bit different. Ever wonder what it's like to play a guitar to a sold-out concert full of thousands of excited fans and music lovers? Live mode shows that in quasi real-time video that adapts to your performance. With two tours, spread across the U.S. and UK and spanning several sets (songs), you'll jam out with your band as they seek to keep the crowd on their feet and jamming. Playing online is one thing, but the Live mode is incredibly nerve-wracking. Maybe it's just me, because I'm not as good as other players, but watching the crowd and even your band mates turn on me was unsettling. It felt like I was experiencing a bizarre mix between Guitar Hero and those '90s full-motion video games. I don't mean that as a bad thing, however. I was impressed with how well it's presented. It's like those FMV games, except actually good. Shown from the first person, you're in the shoes of the lead guitarist, and when he stumbles, you experience it first hand. It can be tense, especially when your own band starts to turn on you. For the most part, I was largely impressed with my session with Guitar Hero Live. Though I still have some reservations with the game's economy, I still feel there's a lot of good here. The MTV-esque aesthetic was a stroke of genius and it really brought me into the experience much more than any of the other titles did. And given the number of platforms this is on, including mobile, it's clear they want to cover all the bases here. With Rock Band 4 also seeing a release this year, things must be looking up for the music genre now that the two juggernauts have returned. I'm looking forward to seeing how fans will take to it. 
Guitar Hero Live photo
I remember a time when there was this massive swell of music and rhythm-based games. The most dominant one at the time was the Guitar Hero series, which was quite an obsession among many of my classmates back in college. But ...

Rock Band 4 is doing a new fun thing you wouldn't expect

Jun 15 // Brett Makedonski
Between those dueling stages was an innocuous, decidedly less interesting room. But, what it lacked in flair, it made up for in substance. Some posted up nearby talking Filipino politics, but those who ventured inside found the biggest change to Rock Band in years. Guitar solos aren't what they used to be. Trepidation was abound. Shredding in Rock Band is such a staple. Now it's different. Accuracy has been replaced with creativity. I couldn't help but think that's a musician's move right there. I also couldn't help but be a little dejected that there's less skill involved with the instrument that I spent the most time trying to perfect. Down the hall, Pearl Jam's "Alive" started playing, and Eric Pope couldn't hide his disdain. I thought about firing it up to figure out how these new solos worked. I refrained and chose "Cult of Personality." In everyone else's hands, this is a plastic guitar; in my hands, it's a pipebomb. Things didn't pan out quite as I wanted. Rather than rhythmically dissecting the song until the solo hit, I was met with five minutes of solo. That's a dev mode thing -- perks of the preview event. I guess that's adequate time to figure out the ins and outs of the new format. I was mostly right, but not entirely. [embed]293727:59016:0[/embed] A small group had formed after a few minutes. Someone made a comment about the five buttons on a Rock Band guitar. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. A Harmonix representative sprung into action to correct the misstatement and pitch the Freestyle Solos -- a system that reminded everyone there are ten buttons on these axes. Intricate notes have been left by the wayside for colorful patterns. Blue means to play in first position (normal notes); orange indicates you need to slide up the neck and play on those five forgotten-about buttons. An algorithm decides exactly what gets played, whether it be sustains, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, or just wildly tapping without any strumming. One of the patterns mandates you just play anything. Make noise, anything works. While it sounds somewhat insane, it mostly works. The solos come together in a way that's satisfying -- as if you were actually playing the solo. However, substituting that for nailing a classic solo isn't a trade-off that I necessarily appreciated. It just feels like maybe it's a bit too easy now. That's not the only concern. Harmonix has made a point of framing Rock Band 4 as a party game that anyone can pick up and play. But, I saw many of my peers struggling to integrate the solos into the gameplay they already knew. When I asked the devs how long they expected it'd take for casual players to grasp Freestyle Solos, they thought it'd go pretty quick. I estimate it'll take slightly longer than very casual players want to commit. In that event, the mode can be turned off, which seems like a less than optimal solution. For those who have the patience to learn it but aren't dedicated enough to excel at the old solos, Freestyle may be a fine compromise. Wailing on those solos makes you feel really good even when you're performing a relatively simple task. It makes for a nice little illusion for anyone who doesn't want to look past it. 
Rock Band preview photo
'Play Freestyle!'
Everywhere I looked, my peers seemed to be having fun. Mere minutes before, everyone couldn't stop talking about how cold that Santa Monica rooftop was. It was the opposite of fun. Now, that had melted away, a distant memory ...

Thumper photo

Thumper's rhythm violence is strange and unsettling

Confirmed for PS4 and Steam
Jun 08
// Jordan Devore
Bambi this is not. We've talked about Thumper a couple of times before and I'm still getting acclimated (if such a thing is even possible for a rhythmic racing game about a space beetle and "an insane giant head from the fut...
Rhythm Tengoku photo
Rhythm Tengoku

Eat away your sorrows with this Rhythm Tengoku trailer

Jun 03
// Darren Nakamura
Sometimes life gets you down, and all you want to do is sit on the couch while eating peanut butter with a spoon and watching Netflix. Or if you are "Heartbreak Bear Hen" (as translated by Google), you would rhythmically alt...
Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

Maybe you'll actually recognize a few of this week's Guitar Hero Live songs

For a change
Jun 02
// Brett Makedonski
After the initial reveal of Guitar Hero Live, Activision's been slowly unveiling ten songs a week to keep us interested. The only problem is that the vast majority of songs (and artists) are completely unknown to the majority...

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