Years ago I stumbled upon some friends playing this new and interesting game. It required using a dance pad on the floor along with matching arrows to the beat of music. I didn’t want to try it but I gave it my all and became addicted to it. Ever since then I’ve been a huge fan of music based rhythm games. I hadn’t heard much about Superbeat Xonic and for that I’m sorry.
Superbeat Xonic works with such a basic premise but has some of the slickest presentation for a handheld music game. Once players are past the initial intro scene, they are presented with a menu that looks colorful, is popping with electronic music, and I immediately was intrigued and ready to get down with the music.
Gameplay consists of a few modes. Some in which players can do extended amount of tracks selected by players, or pre-determined tracks that just play in a row with a grade following at the end. After selecting the mode of play, it brings up what I refer to as the rhythm screen. Here players are presented with two side bars that they manage. As the music plays, blocked curve segments fly at the screen. When they land on the outer edge, players tap the screen in correspondence to the beat and rhythm. Some blocks require holding, one specific note requires tapping, holding and tracing a line that can move up or down. It might sound complicated, but once the slight learning curve is overcome, it becomes one of the best feeling rhythm games I’ve ever played.
The soundtrack is something that makes or breaks these titles as well and I find there is a lot of variation here. From slow paced tencho, super upbeat almost hardcore, trance, and even metal. There is a selection of over 50 songs and whether it’s J-pop or another form of electronic music, as long the genre is enjoyed, players will find plenty of tracks to love. It’s the selection of songs, along with the movement, rhythm, and interaction with the touch pad that just gives Superbeat Xonic a totally unique feel then I’ve ever experience before. As difficulty rises up, so does the pace of blocks falling and the speed. It can be quite intimidating, but just like all games in the genre, practice def makes perfect or at least better then when starting.
I have very little reasons for why I wouldn’t recommend Superbeat Xonic to players, it’s that good in my eyes. The miniscule issues those I could see some finding fault with is the visuals, while colorful and pop, there isn’t much to look at outside of this. It’s not the point of the game, but perhaps some would want a bit more variation for the eyes. One block that drops requires players to slide the their finger ever so slightly as they tap and it can be a bit difficulty to pull off. It requires some finesse to it and even when mastered, at the higher speed songs or difficulty, it can be a huge pain and is probably the biggest learning curve of all.
This was an absolute surprise for me. I have been a huge fan of the genre as I mentioned earlier, but I won’t lie and admit I’ve been in retirement for the last few years. With the recent revival of Guitar Hero, I’ve jumped back in and Superbeat Xonic is the perfect electronic dance rhythm game on the go. It uses the Vitas touchscreen for ultimate interaction in a music game I’ve never felt before and I was not only tapping my fingers to the beat, but my whole body couldn’t stop moving to the sounds coming from my headphones.
A downloadable PlayStation Vita code was provided by the publisher for review purposes