Anyone who has ever heard of titles like Beat Hazard or Audiosurf knows the principle: You select a song and the game then generates a level that you have to deal with. A game idea that is also being pursued in Terror Rhythm (TRRT), now also available for the Switch. After the title was released some time ago for the PC, handheld enthusiasts can now access it on the go. Rhythm games are not new on the console, so it remains to be seen if the game can keep up with the competitors or even outstrips them. As a big fan of the musical genre, I was only too happy to agree to find out.
Anyone reading the description in the eShop might come up with the idea that Terrorhythm is actually following something like a story. However, this description is the only indication that there could be a story. As soon as you start the game, you will find absolutely nothing. No intro, no short story, no text that could point that out. And that does not change in the rest of the game. But that should not bother too much, after all, rhythm tracks do not necessarily need a great story to please. But before you can start, you have to calibrate the game. This is done on the basis of one’s own sense of rhythm and thus it is tried to determine what an input lag exists to give you a little help. A nice idea on paper, but the fact that the calibration is based on your own sense of rhythm makes it terribly prone to inaccuracies. Another option for setting a possible delay does not exist.
After you have completed the tutorial, it goes straight to the level selection. A bit of a pity here is that while you select a level, you get no information on the song selected. Even when you select different levels to play in you will not exactly know which wong will come next, making it often being the same song even in different levels. The gameplay itself then focuses on four buttons: attacks to the left and right by the shoulder buttons and the expansion of their own attack area and the charging of punches by B and X. The main focus is performing the right action and attack based on the rhythm of the music. So far, so easy to understand.
During the songs you can see how on the screen from the right or from the left opponents move to the character in the middle. This happens completely random each time, so that everything is different when playing the same song over and over. Once in their own attack radius, they can be attacked with the shoulder buttons. In order to maintain a combo, one of the keys must be pressed all the time, so it is worthwhile to expand your own range between enemy waves or even to charge attacks. charging attacks plays quite a big role, because every now and then opponents will come towards you with either a shield or in packs of two. Charged attacks kill two enemies at once, but bounce off yellow shields. So you have to choose carefully how to go about it, and you can not keep charging charges, regardless of casualties. If you make it to the end of the level, you get your score and get experience points. These in turn will make you level up and receive new songs and levels to play.
What sounds simple in theory, is actually quite a bit harder then it looks. True to the motto “easy to learn, hard to master” you get the hang of it all pretty easily. If you are looking for a special challenge, you can also choose between four difficulty levels to make it easier or harder. Especially at the higher grades, however, problems can quickly arise: If the number of opponents on the screen is too high, or there is allot of chaos, the game stutters. These are no framerate dips, but actual stand stills, the one condemned to mess up the combo. Worse still, this happens even more often when you get hit, making it harder to reenter after a hit. In general, Terrorhythm has a lot of problems with the gameplay as well: Since opponents do not approach the rhythm of the song but rather fluently, it can quickly happen that they approach you in the off-beat. In other words, it is impossible to meet. Another problem is the items that you get in combat every now and then. Basically, these should help an item, the sword, for example, immediately gives you the largest attack radius and the scythe kills each opponent in one fell swoop. But if, for example, you get the Chakram, which allows you to attack enemies remotely, but you are in absolute melee, you just can not serve both sides and get hit without being able to do anything. Randomly generated enemy hordes can work well, but there must be an answer against such mistakes, which unfortunately, there aren’t.
The visual presentation has been very successful for the developers. The effects look clean and overall, the color palette with its rich backgrounds also makes a real difference – although you often do not get the time to enjoy it. Much more important, of course, is the music and the Switch version has an absolute drawback: While you could import your own songs in the PC version, this is not the case on the Switch. Here you are limited to the music provided by the game and that is as generic as you can imagine. Simple beats to follow and no songs that somehow stay in your head. An absolute shame for the genre. To top it all off: Since you have to climb up to unlock new songs in rank, one is condemned to the same songs again and again to play, because the experience is quite well kept within limits. And you could argue now: “But you can improve your place on the Leaderboards!” – Basically. Too bad that they are not online, but only locally on the console.
It has a lot of potential and I bet the title is a lot of fun on the PC: import your own music, smooth gameplay and a simple way of playing that you want to master. Too bad that you do not get exactly this stuff on the switch. It is limited to the incredibly boring soundtrack that comes with it. It stutters way too often and becomes almost unplayable as soon as you try a fast song on a high level of difficulty. And some game mechanics are so half-baked that they simply spoil the whole package. It has some common bugs to deal with, but anyone who had any interest in the game should keep their hands off the switch and use the PC version. There are also online leader boards, so that even without importing your own songs it has a better incentive to play the same songs again and again.
Stuttering rhythmic game with ineffective random mechanics and a boring tracklis. We advice you to play this on pc.