Rhythm games aren’t something that has just popped up in the last couple of years, although they have kind of exploded during that time. At this point it almost seems like it is more important to talk about what any one of these games does differently than to focus on what every single one of them better than the others, and Rhythm Zone does manage to do things differently than its counterparts.
The first major difference between this game and most other mainstream titles is that there are only four buttons as opposed to the normal five. This does have the effect of making the game a good deal easier as one’s hand never needs to be moved, even while using the keyboard to play songs. However, this does not mean that the game is a pushover.
Another oddity is that the sequences of the colors flowing down are different than that which has already been established by Guitar Hero and Rock Band. It isn’t that those colors in that order need to be the law or anything, but it just feels more like trying to reinvent the wheel than just sticking with a system that many people know and are rather used to, even if the difference in colors is probably only going to be noticed by the most hardcore fans of those other games.
This also marks the only time that I started to get motion sick while playing a game. There are several options to play around with the graphics of the game, one of which is to allow the track that notes slide down to move from side to side. Playing rhythm games long enough can cause the best of us to start to see furniture breathing in odd ways, this is pretty much the next logical step to simply induce vomiting. While it is a neat idea, it was also the only time that I had to force quit out of a song.
Rhythm Zone works well will the default control scheme and layout, but the best part comes from Guitar Hero or Rock Band peripheral compatibility. While it does feel a little odd to be sitting in a computer chair and rocking out with a plastic guitar, everything worked perfectly fine after the buttons were properly assigned.
This also has one of the distinct advantages of being the only currently supported, commercially released, rhythm game on the PC at the moment. Add onto that the ability to have players upload their own music means that almost any song is playable, from the most obscure indie band to the most main stream hit, the player simply has to have a copy of the music on their computer. This system basically works like a visualize pulsing to the music; the AI automatically creates notes to hit. Although some songs work a little better than others, this auto note generating system works pretty well and stands out even at lower difficulties.
This is also one of the major downsides, as the game itself doesn’t really come with that many songs, many of which I had never heard before. All of the ?included? songs have to be downloaded as well which makes for an annoying extra step before you can actually play the game.
For what it is, the only rhythm game currently out on the PC, it is hard to judge Rhythm Zone for its faults. In the long run, most of them are rather forgivable due to the fact that it can literally have an endless library of songs to choose from. Combined with a price that is pretty much right for this type of game with this amount of competition and what comes out is a fairly respectable addition to the rhythm game family. While it probably isn’t going to be something that converts people over from Rock Band, those looking for something a little different may have found a perfect fix.
Not As Good As: Not throwing up
Also Try: Rock Band
Wait For It: Mods
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