Okay, so this game seems tailor made for me. What Curious Panda’s Rhythm Destruction presents would be the chocolate and peanut butter of gaming. It’s a 2D shmup where, in the eponymous words of that Aerosmith game Revolution X, music is the weapon. (I apologize for even bringing that silly thing up. Please don’t hate me. More.) Based on what was turned out, I hesitate to unequivocally recommend it. In its current state, I would say that Rhythm Destruction is an excellent proof of concept in need of a bit more meat on these emaciated raver’s bones.
The game play itself is simple in concept. You control a spaceship, whom I have dubbed Pewstep, in a vertically scrolling laser death course. Enemies are shot down using specific button presses in time with the music. Perfect timing equates to more points to brag about on the online leaderboard. While trying to rack up the points, one must also be wary of the oncoming obstacles and ordinance. I would hesitate to describe it as “bullet hell,” but there is enough going on to keep your reflexes on edge, eyes dilated, and toes tapping. At least on harder difficulties…
While the basics of play are absolutely solid, this game is lacking a distinct personality in play. The graphics are store brand, grey label generic. The ship designs, lasers, and obstacle fields just don’t have anything special about them. Even now, I am have a difficult time describing the look beyond “existent.” Just picture a bog standard space based shoot-em-up. Yep. That’s it.
The graphics and look could be easily ignored if the music was richer and more varied. What should be the life blood of any music based game is simply missing here, leading to an anemic offering. I hope you like electronic club music, because that is all on tap.
There are different types electro whammer-a-boo, if you are into it. There’s house, trance, yadda, yadda, and more yadda. That’s all well and good, but a mix of other styles and genres would be very welcome. A little rock, a little metal, a little hip-hop, a little something to break it up would have been welcome and would have created a more rounded experience. That must be coupled with the fact that there aren’t many tracks to speak of. There seems to be about an hour’s worth of music here.
To be entirely fair, if these weren’t all created by an in-house musician, I would be surprised. We are looking at something funded on Kickstarter and it is the first project for Curious Panda. I’m sure getting the concept and actual feel of the play was a challenge and something to be tackled first, and I will be the first to admit that they nailed it. Weaving through lasers and be-bopping and scatting all over the bad guys is great. (Not that type of scatting. Gross, people.) There just needs to be more of it. My personal recommendation would be to start trolling local bands and online sites to find people who would donate a track or two in exchange for the exposure.
A hypothetical sequel that embraces a larger breadth and depth in the track listing while adding life to the appearance would be a lock for a recommendation. The actual gameplay on offer here is solid enough for me to say that. As for this actual, existent product I have to ask: Do you like shmups? Does your idea of a great night out include glow sticks and strobe lights? If you said yes to both, then check out Rhythm Destruction. Despite my complaints, I certainly will not argue that it is over-priced at the five dollar asking price. In fact, considering the amount of bad CDs I have bought at three times that price, it’s a bargain. However, if either question received a no but you want a rhythm action game, I would say Kickbeat is more up your alley.