Rhythm Zone Review

Rhythm Zone

We’ve seen quite a few titles in the rhythm genre that use your own music as content. Both Audiosurf and Beat Hazard take your tracks and create unique levels. Both games are more about taking your music and forming unique content for its main gameplay; Rhythm Zone aims to use your music to form playable audio tracks within the band-game framework.

While this is a great idea, the game doesn’t quite hit its mark. Rhythm Zone is a serviceable music game — a little indie game that will provide the hardcore rhythm genre fan loads of challenge and great presentation — but falls short of any meaningful connection with the music you are playing.

Rhythm Zone employs the same note highway gameplay of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, requiring you to hit the buttons as the notes cross the bottom of the track. Rhythm Zone’s twist is that you can import your own songs, which the game will identify and label. The game then generates a note track based on your song and a visualizer to go along with it. The visualizer will pulse and move with the song, and the effects are very cool. What starts as simple shapes and colors evolves into space-faring voyages and psychedelic acid trips.

You can either tap your notes on your keyboard or plug in a USB guitar to play. Out of the two control schemes, I found the keyboard to be the better fit. Rhythm Zone is one of the most difficult music games I’ve ever played, and the faster reaction and use of both hands on a keyboard made it more manageable. When using a guitar you are simply tapping the buttons and the note colors don’t follow the same direction as Rock Band or Guitar Hero, so it can be confusing.

[flash width="540" height="337"]http:/www.youtube.com/v/bmftIMR_BU4?fs=1&hl=en_US[/flash]

What detracts from Rhythm Zone‘s experience is the note tracks generated vary in quality depending on the music. Certain songs generate tracks that when played, make you feel like you aren’t really playing the song. It feels as if you are just tapping buttons while a song plays in the background. I found the more prominent a song’s beat, the better the game is at constructing a note track that makes you feel like you are playing that song. Techno and rap fared the best, while alternative rock and heavy metal suffered. A more consistent music recognition system would have been better, making sure every genre of song was covered.

The game also doesn’t have any easy way of importing numerous songs at once. I had to import each song one by one, wishing there was a way to import whole folders. It was time consuming in the end and a chore I didn’t want to deal with. When the song was imported, Rhythm Zone used Last.fm to tag the song and it recognized each song I threw at it.

The game also has full Steam support, bringing your profile in and allowing you to level up based on your scores and amount of music imported. You can also send and receive score challenges to other players who have imported the same songs as you.

If you’re looking for a challenge or ever wanted to have your own music in a band game, then Rhythm Zone is worth a look. Yet, if you’re looking for a game that will allow you to feel like you are playing that same music, Rhythm Zone falls short.

3 out of 5


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Author: Matt Erazo View all posts by

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