The Metronomicon wonderfully melds two unlikely genres together in order to make one unique video game. Picture this, a rhythm game that uses notes moving down the screen (like Rock Band) in order to attack enemies. Not only that, you control four characters at the same time who each come with their own sets of powers and abilities to change the course of battle.
The demo featured four licensed songs and even a boss song recorded specifically for the game by Jimmy Urine, the lead singer of Mindless Self Indulgence. The first song I chose to play was the boss song on the medium difficulty. Similar to the notes found in Dance Dance Revolution, players can use the arrows on the d-pad, or the “A”, “B”, “X”, or “Y” buttons on the Xbox One controller to hit these notes.
What sets The Metronomicon apart from other rhythm games is the fact that there is a decent amount of strategy to the gameplay. Throughout all of the songs, notes are flowing down the screen for all of the characters. Since each party member has a unique set of abilities, figuring out which move to use and which character to control at a specific movement is key.
One character had a melee attack and an inspire ability which increased the effectiveness of each character’s moves. There’s a healer which regenerates the party’s health, another character which taunts the enemy in order to send all of the damage her way and there is also a spellcaster. This character has a variety of moves based on different elements. Since enemies each have their own set of strengths and weaknesses, there is often a strategy when it comes to deciding on which element to attack with.
While the demo had each move preset to a specific section of the note chart, in the full game, you can customize the location of every ability. The higher your ability is, the more powerful it will become when executed correctly. For example, attack was the first move on my skill set for my melee character. So it was least effective. I can switch it to the second spot which will make it stronger in future battles. In my demo, Inspire was the most effective ability for that character, but in the full release, I’ll be able to make that the first ability my character can use which should decrease the longevity of the move.
This is a gameplay mechanic that will make The Metronomicon more strategic on and off of the battlefield. At the end of a normal song, the game keeps track of how many enemies you killed in a particular song and you’ll also gain experience and items for completing a level. Boss battles can only be completed if you kill the enemy before the end of the song. In my attempt, I defeated the boss with less than a second left on the clock. It was an intense battle that left me feeling pumped.
After my time with The Metronomicon on the controller, the developers let me attempt the game on a dance mat. Since I had not played Dance Dance Revolution in about five years, stepping back on the mat was a scary feeling. Since I also tried two songs in The Metronomicon on the controller, I was concerned that the difficulty spike from controller to dance mat would be brutal. While it was definitely harder, the song I played was manageable and surprisingly fun.
I didn’t find much wrong with the game. My only negative is that The Metronomicon can be slightly overwhelming when first starting.. There is so much happening on the screen during each song that it can become a little too hectic. The game itself is really fun, but the learning curve can be slightly off-putting.
The Metronomicon is currently on Steam and will be launching on Xbox One and Playstation4 later this year. If the hands on demo I played at PAX East is any indication, the final product will be a blast for fans of rhythm and RPG games.