Rhythm Destruction

Rhythm Destruction

Think Dance Dance Revolution meets Ikaruga, and you're close to understanding what Rhythm Destruction is all about.

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The first indie game from two-person development team Curious Panda, Rhythm Destruction, is a mash up of classic space shooters and rhythm gameplay. The result is a creative take on two popular genres and an ambitious early title for the dev team.

Players take to their spaceships and battle through a variety of increasingly challenging levels. As they go they pop off shots to the beat of a pulsating techno soundtrack, dodging a barrage of objects and enemy projectiles as they go. Early attempts will likely end up in repeated death, but with practice coordinating movement and timing becomes easier, though it's never a cruise through the stars.

Rhythm Destruction

The game supports both keyboard and controller. This flexibility is very welcome. Dodging bullets while waiting for button cues is a challenge that requires immense concentration so being comfortable with the controls is a must. I actually ended up combining both, using the controller to steer and boost, using the keyboard to input the rhythm prompts.

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There are four difficulty tiers and ten songs to rhythmically blast through. Rather than spraying guns at anything that moves, to shoot enemies it's necessary to hit indicated button prompts as they appear. A series of shrinking circles indicates when to fire and bonus points are awarded for perfect timing. Less intense and slower paced than other space shooters it might disappoint genre fans but it presents a solid and unique challenge all of its own.

Rhythm Destruction

The typical top-down shooting is broken up by Hyper Speed sections, during which ships take to a grid style backdrop, and players must hit rapid button cues to follow a winding path. Missing the prompts doesn't result in game over (which is a real blessing on some later levels) but it will mean missing out on some significant score multipliers.

There are ten unique boss encounters - one for each stage. Chances are most players won't beat them first time. The bosses fill the screen with endless colourful attacks and learning their patterns is essential for survival. The option is available to simply wait the bosses out until they fly away but there's a pretty hefty score boost available for taking them down.

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Rhythm Destruction

I invited a musician to help me judge how well the rhythm mechanics function. He said that while the button prompts are in time to the second beat, the visual cues don't help, they pop out of nowhere, making it difficult to anticipate what's coming. The problem, he said, was that rather than paying attention to the music it was more important to watch the arrow indicators and that he could quite happily play with the music turned off.

Unfortunately for a game where rhythm is key, the trance soundtrack won't be to everyone's taste. Don't get me wrong, the soundtrack oozes energy and is well suited to a sci-fi setting, but it's not great - even for its genre. Other sounds are peculiarly absent. Other than the visuals there's very little feedback that indicates landing the perfect shot.

Rhythm Destruction

Graphics are pleasant and colourful. They do nothing wrong but they're pretty standard fare. Nothing about the fluorescent explosions or simple enemy models really stands out. The levels are intelligently designed and fit together nicely but are clichéd, lacking the innovation to make them anything really special.

One of the joys of Rhythm Destruction is that there's plenty of life beyond a single play-through. A great community feel is present throughout the game. Players can send each other challenges, work their way up the competitive leaderboard and unlock medals of achievement.

Rhythm Destruction

Overall Rhythm Destruction is a lot of fun. As innovative as it is challenging, there's plenty to like about it. While a bit more polish would've been nice, as would some variety to the soundtrack, it's easy to overlook these flaws because of the enjoyable gameplay.

Rhythm Destruction is PC-only for now, but plans are to bring a simplified version to mobile devices soon. You can pick up a copy on Desura and if you're feeling supportive it is currently vying for attention on Steam Greenlight.

07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
+ Innovative gameplay + Solid challenge + Competitive community
- Uninspired graphics - Lack of musical variety - Importance of rhythm questionable
overall score
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REVIEW. Written by Jon Newcombe

"Think Dance Dance Revolution meets Ikaruga, and you're close to understanding what Rhythm Destruction is all about."

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