Now’s the time to hit the beat
Rhythm/music games and the PS Vita fit together perfectly, and hoping to join the ranks of the elite is Superbeat XONiC the rhythm action game brought to you by Rising Star Games and PM Studios, the makers of the PSP hit game DJ Max Fever.
I have a slight confession to make: I’ve not played many rhythm games so when the game loaded up I made a beeline to the tutorial, which teaches you the basics of how to play Superbeat XONiC. It is here that you are taught the multitude of notes and the ways in which you can hit them – either with the touch screen, analog buttons or a combination of both. You will learn the difference between the four notes – single, tale, swipe and scratch. The tutorial also covers scoring by telling you that the more accurate your hits are the more you score.
So now I knew the basics I headed towards the Stage Mode to practise. In this mode you are presented with three different options; 4 trax, 6 trax and finally 6 trax FX. These trax options refer to the number of hit areas on screen so beginners (like me) can start on the 4 trax whereas experienced players can opt for the harder 6 trax FX. From there you can select any track to play – these also vary in difficulty. I once again opted for the easier songs. Each song lasts about 2 minutes and once you have completed it you are given a score and rating based upon your judgement accuracy, combos and any bonus points you may have acquired.
Honestly after the first few 4 trax rounds I was lost. I don’t know if it was my age, lack of experience with this genre or fading eyes. I just couldn’t manage to hit the notes on anything above the first few easy tracks. I even dipped back into the options to see if somehow the difficulty had suddenly changed to extremely difficult, but it was still on normal. I knew I was going to have trouble getting any further in this game. Then something strange happened. MrsNelMaNo who had been watching me struggle asked to have a go and, to my surprise, she rocks at rhythm games! She nailed her first go getting an accuracy of 96% and wanted to play more. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing especially as she’s not really into gaming. The last game she played with any gusto was probably Spyro or Bubsy. She tried a few of the 6 trax songs to get to grips with the game before heading to the World Tour Mode.
World Tour Mode follows the same pattern as Stage Mode with easy, normal and hard tracks, but as well as playing the tracks you are given various missions to complete. The missions vary and include such elements as achieving combos, getting a certain accuracy or clearing the stage without breaks. If you pass the mission you are given a reward in the form of either a key sound or more importantly a DJ icon. The DJ icons all have different traits such as recovery, extra HP and shields. You can use these traits to your advantage. For example if you are struggling with a break mission you can swap your DJ icon for one that has a break shield.
The soundtrack for Superbeat XONiC is very diverse with tracks ranging from K-Pop to Acid House, Rock to Easy Listening, and with more to unlock as you play there is more than enough to keep the game feeling fresh. At one point MrsNelMaNo did say the music in the game makes her “want to get my glo-sticks out and go clubbing!”.
Superbeat XONiC does have a platinum, but if you are planning on achieving it you will have your work cut out for you as one trophy requires you to get a combo of 99999 and another sees you grinding your way up to DJ level 99. You will however unlock quite a few trophies as you naturally play the game.
I have no doubt that fans of rhythm action games will find Superbeat XONiC a more than worthy addition to their collection. It is the spiritual successor to DJ Max Fever, after all. Newbies to the genre might find the difficulty gets too steep too soon. Having said that, though, MrsNelMaNo is currently rocking at DJ level 35 and has hardly put the game down. With a base game that has plenty of tracks available and a staggering amount of dlc tracks incoming, Superbeat XONiC will probably be the reason our household gets another PS Vita.
(Mrs)NelMaNo Rating 8/10