Inside My Radio is a platformer mixed with a music game. This combination may seem like it’s set for failure, but the mixture of genres is a genuine surprise that really works. Players take control of Taek, an LED light that is trapped inside a boombox near the end of its lifecycle. Taek is on a mission to bring life back into the boombox, but without rhythm, this task is next to impossible.
The tutorial shows us how to control Taek. With the push of the analog stick, he moves. Our character jumps with “A” dashes with “X” and slams with the “Y” button. The trick to learning these mechanics is that you must execute these moves to the rhythm of the music in a level. There is a meter that will allow players to time their moves with visual cues, but after the tutorial, the game disables it (even though you can enable this feature with a push of the right bumper.) While it may be more frustrating as your timing must be spot on, playing without help is a very satisfying feeling, especially in the later levels.
Inside My Radio is split up into three sections that help tell the overall story of the game. There’s the Electro levels (the bulk of Inside My Radio), the Disco levels and the Dub levels. Each section adopts a style that fits that genre of music. Even the background visuals compliment the music. Most of the game feels repetitive, but just when it seems like you’ve seen everything, that Inside My Radio has to offer, a cool gameplay tweak occurs that keeps the player moving.
In addition to platforming, there are also some cool (although not necessarily difficult) puzzles that are a nice distraction from the fast-paced gameplay that Inside My Radio is full of. There are boss battles, but they’re the least appealing part of the game. Each fight has a completely different feel and though the music is awesome, they seem out of place. There are some nice gameplay deviations during boss battles, but they end suddenly and are unfortunately not satisfying. This is a shame because Inside My Radio is an overall fun experience.
The music (which is important to the game) is infectious and wonderful for the ears while the visuals are appealing. It’s always cool to hear the audio cues while using one of Taek’s moves. Additionally, Inside The Radio’s humor is full of pop culture references. There is even a really cool Easter egg in one of the levels that had me laughing and nodding in appreciation. It’s easy to see what the development team is interested in regarding pop culture and TV shows.
After the story mode is completed, you can tackle the mode that will test even the best players out there. The time attack mode is for masters only. I’ve been playing video games for years and the time attack mode featured in Inside My Radio is one of the most frustrating (yet rewarding) modes I’ve attempted in recent memory. Players with discipline, determination and a love for challenge will spend countless hours trying to reach the highest scores.
What makes the time attack mode so difficult is that it requires absolute perfection. Each error that doesn’t follow the beat and each death results in a time deduction. You can also find clocks which will add time, but sometimes missing a clock is the right thing to do in order to save time. The first level of time attack which should be the easiest, had me pulling my hair. Seaven studio hit all of the right notes with this mode. It requires the player to use every skill learned in the story mode with such mastery.
Fortunately, repeating a level multiple times will etch it into a player’s memory. By the 10th time I attempted the first level in the time attack mode, I started to remember where to jump and where to dash. It became second nature to me even though I still haven’t completed that mission. Inside My Radio is a fun game that keeps the player coming back for more. While I enjoyed the game, I wish that there was more to it. The campaign clocks in at about 2 hours and it’s really fun, but by the time you learn all of the mechanics within the game, Inside My Radio is over.
If Inside My Radio featured more musical genres, new abilities and a few more levels, I would be inclined to label it a great experience. What players will get is an ambitious, fun, catchy, innovative platform game that hooked me in, but let me go a little too early. My time with Inside My Radio was fun, but I wish that I could’ve been in that radio for some more time. One thing is for sure, the developers have an eye for the music and platform genres. I can’t wait to see what they think of next.