When compared to one another, the two genres that Rhythm Destruction tries to meld don’t initially appear to be in any way compatible. But when you look at both from a distance, the similarities become readily apparent. Rhythm Destruction takes the reflexive nature of both rhythm games, a la Guitar Hero or DDR, and attempts to mix it with the frantic pace of a top-down bullet hell shooter. Both genres require quick reflexes and the ability to memorize extensive patterns to succeed, and together could
come together to craft a satisfying culmination of two otherwise disparate styles. Unfortunately, Rhythm Destruction is not
a quality example of what could
be an exciting new alternative to the more standard rhythmically-inclined titles.
Rhythm Destruction looks like a standard bullet hell game when played, but rather than face insurmountable odds in the way of thousands of pink death pellets, you typically only have to worry about crashing into obstacles that you can’t shoot
. In order to account for the rhythm aspect, your ability to freely fire upon enemies has been removed entirely, in favor of specific button presses timed to the beat of electronica style music. This means that you’re often forced to maneuver through miniature mine fields of enemies and obstacles that would have taken mere moments to obliterate in a typical bullet hell title, all because the game decided that these
enemies were not worthy of a rhythmic tap of the x-button on your gamepad. Failing to end an enemy that did
earn that right may stick you in an unavoidable head on collision with them, reducing your limited life pool. Some of these issues, I could forgive, if only because the point of both genres is to test your memory as well as your reflexes. But your inability to freely deal with the limited enemy force isn’t my big problem with this game.
The best rhythm games are separated from the rest by a very, very particular gameplay aspect that many titles, like Rhythm Destruction, just don’t get, and that’s player feedback. Looking at a title like Bit.Trip Runner, one of the most satisfying things about doing well
in that game is the emphasis on your actions and performance in relation to the music. Acquire collectible pickups and increase your score while avoiding death results in an ever evolving music beat, as does performing the correct action add a note to the rhythm. Failing to perform adequately affects the music, and furthers the desire to be absolutely perfect. This is an example of rewarding feedback for the player, and provides a driving force to continue against ever increasing difficulty. RD does not have this. Hell, it doesn’t have any feedback aside from a score counter. And that, beyond the button taps that don’t quite sync with the music, or enemies that you can’t kill, is what kills any enjoyment I could have had for this game. Failing to hit the correct button results in a loss of score, or, if you’re in a narrow hallway, the loss of a life, and that’s it. The music never changes to fit your actions, and in a game about
keeping a beat, that is unacceptable.
While RD is poor example of variety in a couple of stagnating genres, I love the idea it presents. I can only hope that the concept is picked up by another developer.