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The Metronomicon

Score: 88%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Kasedo Games
Developer: Puuba
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Rhythm/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Take RPG characters that aren't just typical RPG characters, but are over-the-top enough to be caricatures of classic RPG characters, and then make references to pop culture and RPG games and you end up with something that feels a bit like a LARP come to life. If you can imagine that the LARP that sprang to life had mechanics based on dancing, then The Metronomicon is a videogame based on that LARP.

As a rhythm game, music is an important part of The Metronomicon. Rather than classic rock, pop and alternative that you'll find in most rhythm games, The Metronomicon features electronic, synthwave, chiptune and indie music, including an exclusive track from Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence and an unreleased track from Shiny Toy Guns. Other featured artists include YACHT, Perturbator, J-Punch and Dj CUTMAN.

The graphics are simple and cartoonish, feeling a bit like a Flash game, at times, but they contribute a somewhat nonsensical element that works well with the parody-esque aspect of the game. During the fight scenes, characters dance about in dance movement loops that are reminiscent of the static movement loops featured in fighting games when characters are idle. There are different poses and changes in animation, but for the most part, the animation is handled by moving the different parts of the 2D characters, as if they were articulated paper dolls.


Gameplay:

Wait, what? Okay, I get it. You're confused. And you should be; I was, when I first looked at this game. It's a rhythm game, but it's single player. (There aren't a lot of those out there.) There are four different note tracks, but you're responsible for all four. Of course, you can only play one at a time, but you'll need to jump between the four different characters in your party, playing sections on their note tracks in order to execute their moves. Each character has unique abilities and you can select the order of their abilities, selecting which action is triggered by completing one, two or three sections in the note track. Use your actions strategically to keep your players buffed, your enemies debuffed, your party healed and your tank tankin'.

One thing definitely worth mentioning are the Secondary Abilities. These aren't triggered by the player directly, but instead, are automatically triggered when the player achieves a streak of a certain required length. For example, if you have a character with a secondary ability that fires on a 30 note streak, you'll have to avoid breaking your streak until you get to 30 consecutive notes. Once your streak hits 30, that ability will trigger. If you keep your streak going, it won't fire again. If you want to fire that ability again, you'll have to break your streak and build up to 30 again. This can be important, if you're trying to leverage a certain secondary ability in a challenge, for example. If you're trying to repetitively use a secondary ability, you'll have to build up to that number, then break the streak. Rinse and repeat.

As you would expect of any RPG, winning brings epic loot. Collect and equip items that offer additional hit points, armor and magical powers, such as converting all attacks to Earth type, saving you from one overpowering blow per level or attracting attacks to the character wearing it or similar game-mechanic changing abilities. Choose and equip these items thoughtfully, as it can be quite beneficial to make enemies attack your tank, but it can be quite painful to make enemies attack your wizard.

There are a variety of items to get, some of which drop during normal battles in the Story Mode, while some are obtained by beating certain Challenge levels in the Arena. In addition to items, however, you can earn "Street Cred" in battles, which in turn, can be used to unlock some special features, such as a Gym, where characters can slowly level up when you're not using them. The last feature that you open up this way allows you to spend Street Cred to purchase special magic items specifically tailored for certain characters, designed to strengthen their strengths or help mitigate weaknesses. For example, while berserkers are mighty, vicious warriors, their rage always has some negative side effect. In The Metronomicon, all of Ralf's moves either have the side effect of him hurting himself or damaging (such as blinding) his allies. The "Manicured Bear Claws," available in the laboratory, reduce these negative effects by half. "A Longer Syringe" will improve Clark's Inoculate spell, adding a casting of "Cure" to each ally for which it removes or prevents a status effect. There are eight of these special items, one per playable character.

With these equippable items, the newly added attacks, and the stat increases as you level up, all of the RPG elements seem to be there. Further, the game is undeniably a rhythm game. As strange as it may seem, The Metronomicon seems to do a good job of combining these two genres.


Difficulty:

As cute, funny and tongue-in-cheek as The Metronomicon may be, it can still be quite challenging. Take the difficulty of playing a rhythm game and add the necessity to switch between different tracks, while maintaining your timing, and things can get a bit hectic. Consider the fact that you need to switch to specific characters' tracks to play through a certain number of sequences in order to pull off a certain move strategically and things get downright frantic... especially on the higher difficulty levels. Luckily, there are three different difficulty levels, so you can still make some progress even if you can't hang on the hardest one.

If you are finding it difficult to progress in the Story Mode, you can hone your skills in the Challenge Arena or play Freeplay Mode, which will allow you access to all of the songs without having to progress through the storyline.


Game Mechanics:

The idea of combining a rhythm game with an RPG seems a bit strange, especially with the need to swap between characters quickly to strategically fire off attacks and moves. Somehow it works, making for a game that is fun for keyboard or gamepad and frenetic for a dance pad. (You've been warned.)

The Metronomicon does use the DLC business model, allowing you to expand your music selections as time goes on and check back for a review of the Chiptunes Challenge DLC, to post soon. However, even without the DLC, The Metronomicon is an interesting, quirky game that has a decent amount of replay value - especially if you're one to try to master all the difficulty levels.

If you're a fan of RPGs and D&D, you're okay with poking fun at them and you like rhythm games, you might just love The Metronomicon.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 7, 8.1, 10, Intel Core i3 or equivalent Processor, 2 GB RAM, 1GB, OpenGL 1.5+ Graphics, 2500 MB available HD space
 

Test System:



[Alienware Aurora] Intel Core i7-3820 CPU @ 3.60GHz, 16 GB dual-channel DDR3, Alienware Mainboard, Windows 10 Home 64 bit, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (4GB), Two Monitors (Samsung S22C300 21.5" / Gateway HD2201 21'' HDMI), 500 GB Solid State Primary Hard Drive, 1000 GB Secondary Hard Drive, Saitek X52 Flight Control System, Logitech Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury, Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Astro Gaming A30 Headset Black Gaming Headset, EPB Fiber 100Mb Internet Access

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