Orgarhythm Review


I went into Orgarhythm not knowing exactly what to expect. The “rhythm strategy game” moniker was readily apparent on the download screen, but what does that entail? Essentially it boils down to timing and a rock, paper, scissors system. The Patapon series succeeded with a similar formula on the PSP, but Orgarhythm attempts its own brand of beat-filled strategy with simpler core mechanics – think touchscreen – and a hard-to-describe mythological world. My initial reaction was one of interest and intrigue…unfortunately not all of the mechanics work in the most traditional sense of the word.

What does work is the game’s ambitious conceit, which involves a fist-pumping god who maintains dominance with the help of music. Players take control of this god and issue orders to color-coded troops. The colors correspond to a rock, paper, scissors format in which an ally group of one color is stronger than enemies of another (blue defeats red, red defeats yellow, and so on). This isn’t new to the genre, but the way in which the game handles leveling does prove to be unique.


A pulsating beat maintains itself throughout each stage, and colored groups level up after three successive touchscreen taps in rhythm with the music. This means the army grows as the player slips into a groove, rewarding mistake-free play. That army consists of a few different classes, including traditional soldiers, archers, and catapults. Also included are extra abilities used by the god himself, which result in combat buffs, healing, or a powerful all-out attack that wipes out nearby enemies. As if that’s not enough, unlockable skills are obtained for earning enough points throughout the game. At the beginning of each new stage, one skill can be equipped. Obviously there are a lot of moving parts here and it can be bewildering at first. But they all make sense within the context of the game and culminate in a complex yet rewarding system.

Sadly, Orgarhythm is a game that succeeds in vision and largely fails in execution. The Vita’s touchscreen capabilities are implemented in a logical way, but the controls prove unreliable on a purely functional level. I encountered far too many instances in which troops would ignore orders and respond late to commands, which in tandem with the chaotic look of battles on screen creates the illusion of difficulty. The frustration only builds as stages have to be repeated because of these inexcusable mistakes.

There are moments in which everything comes together and the controls actually work, and I had quite a bit of fun at those times. The boss battles at the end of each stage are particularly noteworthy because of the way they switch up the music and provide more rhythmically complex beats to tap along to. Speaking of beats and music, that’s where Orgarhythm‘s biggest strength lies. As the player increases their combo meter during each stage, the music builds on itself and reaches a cacophony of what can best be described as tribal techno. Listening to the music and watching the god dance along to it is ridiculous but always amusing.


It would have been nice to experience these moments a bit more often, but there isn’t a whole lot in the way of single-player content. The main campaign can be completed in about three or four hours, though there may be players who wish to hunt down trophies and get better grades on stages. Nevertheless, it’s troublesome when a game leans on those kinds of extra incentives for its content. In addition, multiplayer modes are limited to local ad-hoc play, so good luck finding a game unless you have more adventurous gaming friends.

Orgarhythm is one of those games that I really want to like. I’m a fan of the aforementioned Patapon series and rhythm games in general. The idea of mixing strategy mechanics with music is always appealing and the way Orgarhythm puts its own stamp on the formula is admirable. Unfortunately the most important mechanic in the game doesn’t reliably work at all times, and that’s the kind of unforgivable design flaw that can ruin an entire game. Couple that with a severe lack of content and you have a disappointing experience in which brief moments of brilliance are too few and far between.


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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