It isn’t exactly certain when Japan started getting into the bizarre naming convention involving the word “rhythm”, but between this and Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, we can now chalk it up as a new gaming buzzword.
With a title like Orgarhythm, it’s only natural that one would expect a new and bizarre innovation that continues the loose interpretation of the Rhythm genre. In that respect, Xseed’s latest downloadable Vita release does not disappoint; developed by Acquire Corp, this touch-based, rhythm-centric, Tower Defense mish-mash has brought much curiosity, and even more confusion, since its debut trailer. In truth, the concept is much simpler than one would think, though whether it’s an effective concept is another thing entirely.
The premise behind Orgarhythm involves players assuming the role of a God of Light as he breakdances his way across several stages, commanding an army of color-coded soldiers to do his bidding. The soldiers are clumped into groups of three, each representing an element: red for fire, yellow for earth, and blue for water. Naturally, the three elements oppose one another in a rock-scissors-paper structure (fire beats earth, earth beats water, water beats fire), which means that players must order the proper colored troops to attack the correct colored enemies making a beeline for their God.
The user interface is easy enough to figure out: you tap whichever of the three colored groups you want to order, select their class (melee, archer, or catapult, depending on the distance and placement of enemies), and drag an arrow to determine their path. This method of uniting against foes is similar to Pikmin, with two key exceptions. The first is that you have no control over the God himself, who dances along each stage on a predetermined path, and once his health runs out, that’s the end of the level; only by making it to the end and defeating the stage boss can players advance to the next stage.
The second, and most significant, difference is the game’s insistence on keeping up with the beat. In each stage, a different, bass-heavy song is playing that players must sync their touch-based commands with. By tapping the commands in tune to the beat, the God and his followers will level up, increasing their overall stats. Keep up the beat, and they will continue to level up, all the way to the maximum of 4. Fail with your timing, and they will lose a level in the process.
While failing to keep a steady pace won’t immediately result in a Game Over, failure to keep your levels up during enemy attacks will result in a very quick death. The other advantage to keeping those rhythm combos going is the ability to use Support commands, which are basically divinations that enhance your soldiers’ attack, defense, or heal lost health for yourself and your followers. You’ll certainly need all the support you can get, as Orgarhythm can prove to be a very punishing experience, even on the lowest difficulty.
Beyond that, there isn’t much else to Orgarhythm. Its complexity comes strictly from its requirement to keep a steady beat in the middle of a firefight, while all other extra modes (including versus and co-op) are restricted to local multiplayer only. In the end, the mix between tower defense and rhythm genres is an interesting one, but one where neither play styles are taken to their full effect; the game is too demanding with following its fast-paced beats in order to come up with a proper strategy, and the musical portion is too slow-paced for fans of controller-smashing rhythm matching. Perhaps if a sequel is made, the developers will come up with a better fit for the two opposing genres to accommodate old and new fans alike.
This review is based on a review copy of the Playstation Vita version of Orgarhythm, developed by Acquire, published by Xseed
- Interesting Mix of Genres
- Overly Simplistic
- Local Multiplayer Only
- Incredibly Narrow Gameplay