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SUPERBEAT: XONiC

Score: 85%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: acttil
Developer: Nurijoy
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Rhythm

Graphics & Sound:

The last few years, itís been hard to find rhythm games. They seem to have fallen out of favor. I am happy to report that this year it seems rhythm is back on the market. Youíve probably heard that the new Guitar Hero and Rock Band have been released, but there are also lesser known rhythm games that are definitely worth your time. While I impatiently wait the release of the new Amplitude, I have been playing SUPERBEAT: XONiC. While I am not jazzed about the name (all caps but one is a bit much), I find the more I play it, the more I enjoy it.

You can change the sound that the game makes when you hit the notes, which is really helpful since I hate the default sound on most songs. You can also silence it if you donít want those additional sounds. As you play, you will unlock more of these, which gives you more options. When you change the sound for a song, it stays changed, so you can go through and figure out which sound fits well with that song and the next time you play that song, you wonít have to remember to change it.

I donít know if Iíve ever seen a rhythm game with this many different genres of music. Thereís even a song that is "Sludge Metal," another that is "Gypsy Jazz Tech" (which I have never heard of), and even a "Symphonic Step" (think classical turned into dance). A lot of songs are techno/dance/pop, but those work really well with rhythm games. You wonít be at a loss for a variety of music in XONiC.


Gameplay:

When you first start up SUPERBEAT: XONiC, you will have to sit through all the credits to start it, which was really annoying. Luckily, you only have to do that the first time you play the game rather than every time you launch it! Figuring out what you should do after you start isnít very intuitive. From the Main Menu, you have the options of Backstage, DJ Ranking, Stage, World Tour, and Option, in that order. If you think of starting on the left and working right, well you wonít find much to do. Backstage is where you go to see all of your records, stats, and other collected information. DJ Ranking is where you go to see how you rank against other players worldwide. You will need to turn on DJ Ranking over in Options for your scores to be published. Options will also let you adjust your sounds, save data, and change the difficulty.

If you want to actually play songs, you will need to choose either Stage or World Tour. I recommend starting with Stage, just so you can get a feel for things before you take on a club. Inside Stage, you will be given four options. 4 Trax is a Beginner Mode. It doesnít mean you will be playing four songs. The "trax" are how many lines you will have to keep up with hitting the notes on. 4 Trax has two lines on each side for four total lines. The notes on the top line are blue and the bottom line are green. I recommend going ahead and thinking of those blue lines as middle and using the middle buttons to hit them, just so that when you move to 6 Trax, you donít have to re-adjust your brain. 6 Trax is a "Moderate Mode." Youíll have 3 lines on each side for six total. The newly added top line will have the notes in green like the bottom line, so blue notes will now be in the middle. In each of these modes, you will play three songs and you will be given a number of songs to choose from to play. If you fail, your game is over. If you pass that song, you will be given a new selection. The next set of songs are different from the first set. Each time you play, the first selection of songs will be the same and then you get a new set for the second rounds and then there is a set for the third rounds. Basically, each round has its own set of songs. You can also choose Freestyle in Stage. In Freestyle, you can choose from any of the songs you have acquired to play. Once you get to a high enough level, you will unlock 4 Trax FX to choose from as well. It is the hard levels with FX tracks.

From the Main Menu, you can also choose World Tour. World Tour gives you clubs to visit. In each club, you have an Easy, a Normal, and a Hard mission. The missions have a specific set of goals for you to accomplish on specific songs. This does make it harder than Stage but you also get rewards, like new DJ Icons and other helpful things, so the missions are worth it. Youíll only have one club unlocked when you start, but as you gain levels, more will unlock. Just as an FYI, Fever does not continue between songs in World Tour, but your Combo does.


Difficulty:

You can change your difficulty setting in SUPERBEAT: XONiC which defaults to Normal, but you can set it down to Easy or up to Hard. You will also be able to tell how difficult a song is by the number of bars under it. The fewer bars, the easier the song. If youíre having trouble getting the hang of the game, just go set it to Easy and take your time getting used to the controls. If youíre really stuck on a song, there are things you can use to help.

During the songs, try to get into Fever. Your Fever bar is on the right side at the top. When it is full, itís like a bonus time. Your Fever will continue until you miss a note or the song is over. Timing the notes right so that you get at least a Good will increase the Fever bar. Earning a Super Beat when you hit the notes is the best. You can use the various DJ Icons to give you bonus effects when you are playing, which will greatly help your scores or maybe help you pass, just depending on the icon that you use. You unlock more icons as you gain more levels or pass missions on World Tour.


Game Mechanics:

If youíre like me and had no clue what to do, the Tutorial, which I highly recommend playing, can be found by tapping on the (?) on the top right of the Stage Select Screen. Considering there is nowhere else that tells you what you are supposed to be doing, the Tutorial is quite helpful. 4 Trax means you will only have four areas where notes will appear for you to hit. 6 Trax will add a middle area on each side bar.

You can play by using the touchscreen, buttons, or a combination of both, if youíre extremely talented. If you choose to use the touchscreen, you will need to tap the track where the note hits at the same time that the note hits. Itís all tuned to the music so you can get a sense of the timing based on the beat. The rectangle notes that are blue and green are normal notes. You can tap the track or use the D-pad for the left side and the (Triangle), (O), and (X) on the right side. If there is a long bar trailing behind those notes, that is a sign to hold the tap or button press until the end of that bar. The yellow notes with an arrow inside are swipe notes. You need to tap and swipe in the direction of the arrow or use the Analog Stick and press them in the direction of the arrow. The pink notes are scratch notes. You will need to tap and drag in the right direction or hold the Analog Sticks the right way. These notes can and will change directions, so pay attention. The final note is a purple crescent shape that covers the whole bar on the sides. It is an FX note. It cannot be hit by using the touchscreen. You have to use the Left and Right Triggers to hit FX notes.

The mechanics are a lot to take in at first. It takes several play-throughs to get the hang of what you need to press and when. I really like the fact that the notes are different colors. That makes it so you will know what to do just by the color and you can tell where by the position on the track.

I must admit I wasnít a big fan of SUPERBEAT: XONiC for the first half hour or so. It took a while to get into it and get the hang of things. After that, I really found that I enjoyed seeing what would come next. You unlock stuff quickly, so it was a treat after each song to find out what I got. I then spent hours playing with the various DJ Icons to see which ones I needed to use and when. I still havenít mastered the game. Iíve only beaten one club completely in World Tour, but Iím having fun continuing to see what songs I unlock next and what items I get. Itís a game that keeps you playing whether or not you can master it. If you like rhythm games, check out SUPERBEAT: XONiC. You might just find you really like it, once you figure out what to do.


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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