I’m a rhythm guy. I was in band for 11 years. I am a percussionist, that still plays drumset. It shouldn’t have to be said that I love rhythm games. I got my start like most others with music/rhythm games: Dance Dance Revolution. It was simple enough anyone could play, but complex enough that it required training, mentally and physically. To this day, it has inspired many different music games. One of which I found at PAX East. It just so happens to be my game of the show, as well. This is The Metronomicon.
Imagine if Dance Dance Revolution had a love child with a role-playing game, but also had an affair with a title like Rock Band Blitz and somehow created the world’s first tri-gened baby. That is roughly what this game is. The Metronomicon is a game developed by Puuba, and published by Kasedo Games. You take control of a party of eight new masters of the “rhythmic combat arts,” each with their own abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. When music fiends descend upon the land, it is your duty to take them out and take back the world. In the demo I had access to five songs, and four of these masters with limited abilities. Just know there are more than what I am going to be talking about.
The gameplay should feel similar, but in a unique way. The standard left, down, up, and right arrows will be coming down the screen, colored depending on with beat the note is on. The catch, and honestly the fun and strategy, is that you control your four heroes’ tracks simultaneously. You must bounce back and forth to each of your heroes. Depending on how many measures you complete, you will attack with a different spell. (tier 1, tier 2, tier 3)
Once you unlock the tier for the spell you want to cast, you simply switch to a different lane, and that attack will be cast. For example, if I wanted to cast the warrior’s attack buff spell, I would complete two measures as him, then switch away to activate the spell. It is difficult to fully understand without a visual representation, but it will make sense once you see it. Each hero has multiple spells that you can rearrange and level up as you want, truly making the hero, and your team, your own.
The heroes, as mentioned do have their own spells, that can be swapped in and out, and leveled. Along with this, they can be leveled up themselves, granting more attack, health, defense, and more! Like most rhythm games, there is a health bar that will deplete if you miss notes. This one will do the same, but if the enemies attack you, you will also lose heath. Even if you are doing great, if you are attacked by an enemy multiple times without healing, you could still lose. That is what makes this game so fascinating.
There will be a full storyline, where as you progress, you unlock new songs, items, weapons, and gear. The weapons and gear are not only to improve the RPG elements, but the rhythm elements as well. For example, if you have a certain piece equipped, if you reach a streak of 100, your attack will significantly increase. This allows you to focus on the RPG aspects if you’re good with that style, or focus on rhythm if that is your cup of tea. The story mode will be 50 songs long, have full voice over cutscenes, and will take around eight hours to complete if you avoid the sidequests and play perfectly. Yes, sidequests are things. This is not just a pseudo-RPG, this is a legitimate rhythm RPG. Also, there are mostly set drop lists for songs, so you can literally farm songs for items and loot. That is so interesting to me.
For each song, there is a par score/damage bar. If you keep pace, you will defeat the boss by the end of the song. However, it is possible that you could defeat the boss before the end, and skip a portion of the song. If you take too long to defeat certain enemies, they can call for backup, which will make the song more difficult to live through/complete. These enemies that you are fighting do not just damage you. They can also debuff you. These include Dizzy, Blind, Spins, and Color Blind. They will affect your track and make it more difficult to successfully launch a spell. On top of these, some enemies will send attacks down the track at you, causing you to switch early to avoid the attack, or lose major health.
Going back to side quests, it was recently announced that they will be a way to compete against other players to see who can get a high score with a special tweak. Who can get the highest score, highest streak, most damage, etc. On top of this, there is also an arena that gives you a set song/team, and you have to try to make it through with these set limitations. It could be extra mines, constant spin effects on the notes, or whatever they feel like challenging you with. It sounds extremely cool.
The release goal as of right now is end of the year 2016 for PC and Mac. While discussing the game, they mentioned they would like to release the game to consoles at some point, but the primary focus as of right now is strictly for PC and Mac. I could literally talk about how much fun I had in this game for hours, because I have done so to my friends who have never heard of it. It is unique and I honestly could not put the game down when I played (I held two or three of the top five scores on the demo the last day of PAX.) and I have been itching to play more of it, even though I know it won’t be until later this year. You can check out their steam page, Twitter (Danny and Dave), Facebook and YouTube for more updates. While I had so much fun at PAX, this game stuck out and still sticks out to me. Is it end of the year yet? Side note: The Metronomicon also won Best Indie Game at PAX East 2016 from us. It is just so good!