Game Review – Superbeat: Xonic

Game Review – Superbeat: Xonic

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Short Version: It’s awesome! It has a large variety of music and it’s all really fun to play. I particularly like the PS Vita version for its portability and touch controls, but the console versions are just as good. The only bad thing I would say about it is that sometimes it can get way too hard to enjoy and the touch controls get a bit finicky on PS Vita. If you’re looking for a really solid rhythm game, whether on the go or at home, then I highly recommend you pick this up.

Long Version: Every single time I play Superbeat: Xonic, I think about those DJs that make electronic music with those launchpads that light up and look super cool. Pressing every single button creates an awesome sound that immerses you into the music whenever you get a good flow going. I feel that playing Superbeat Xonic is as close as I will ever get to that, for it provides me with that immersive feeling that I always crave more of.

Stargazer is the Best Occupation

This rhythm game has an opening sequence that implies that there are characters and some sort of story to follow. The characters in the opening even have a bio with useless information to look at, but don’t worry about it. None of the things seen in the opening sequence have nothing to do with anything and will never be mentioned ever again. The game itself is just a list of songs to play, with another mode with challenges based around them. On the surface, this seems like very little content, but it’s actually pretty packed with enough stuff to leave you playing for a while. Besides, this allows the game to get straight to point and not have a lot of things getting in the way of just choosing a difficulty level and playing the many songs the game has in store, which is pretty varied.

Planet Core, Classic Remix, Progressive Metal, K-Pop, House, Techno Pop, Shred Core, Rave and a ton of others are the kind of genres you will find in this game. In my uninformed brain, I just interpreted it as the “stuff I would find in a nightclub or a party full of teenage hipsters in a garage” genre. However, I’m glad that they specify what kind of music it is so that I can categorize it properly. I had no idea that 90% of these genres even existed, but now I do thanks to this game. Just by going down the list of genres can one realize how expansive the track list truly is. Obviously, I wasn’t a fan of every single track in it, but there were definitely a good amount of songs I consistently go back to. I think it will go down in this way for most of you as well.

A Buffet of Genres

Many of the songs on the roster reminded me a lot of Dance Dance Revolution in that many songs were very fast, electronic, had some hard hitting, pumping beats, and of course, they were loud as hell. Actually, most of the game’s aesthetic and menus remind me of DDR with it’s many remixes and artists coming from different languages and cultures. I very much enjoy this form of variety, as suppose to other games that only focus on one language or a single genre. From soft piano to Sludge Metal guitar riffs, there’s a lot to like here.

Anyway, now that we know about the tracks, how does the game actually play? Pretty damn well, in my opinion. The controls are fairly simply, featuring Guitar Hero– style notes flying towards you, to which then you have to catch them with the buttons on your controller. Easier modes only have you press four buttons, while higher difficulties add six buttons and even the shoulder buttons. It’s very easy to understand, but here’s where the game takes advantage of that and starts to hit you with very tricky segments that add to the challenge. No matter how hard or easy, the game will always feel great.

Good Vibrations

It’s difficult for me to describe why I like the feeling of hitting all the colored notes so much, but I do. I simply find it very satisfying to the touch when playing on a PS Vita, while the vibration and enhanced resolution of the PS4 version bring a different kind of enjoyment of its own. As I mentioned before, it feels like using a DJ launchpad at a nightclub or a rave. Combining the hard-hitting beats of the music with the visual feedback of the game’s backgrounds and button presses make for something that you have to feel for yourself to believe. When you start to get into it and find yourself in a good groove, you will most likely feel like the coolest person in the world. However, sometimes you won’t feel as cool from all the failures you are almost guaranteed to get.

If there is any point of criticism I can give is how much the difficulty can spike after a certain point. Most of the challenge is fun, but the “World Tour” mode is on a completely different level. That mode ranges from “hard, but possible” to “you have to play 5 full songs perfectly with modifiers, and if you miss one note, you fail.” Some of the later challenges can be difficult beyond enjoyment, but most of it isn’t this frustrating. Another small thing that I noticed was that sometimes the background visuals blend in a little bit too well with the music notes in the forefront. This can cause you to miss some notes since they camouflage with everything else, which can leave some perfectionists raging, especially when it’s not necessarily their fault. And finally, the touch controls in the Vita version are fun, but become increasingly more uncomfortable to use when cranking up the difficulty. Some songs were simply too fast for my fingers to handle, so I ended up using the buttons for many songs.

All Combo! Rank S++

Overall, I think Superbeat: Xonic is an awesome rhythm game that will definitely set the standard for other rhythm games down the line. Everything in it is so polished, full of memorable aesthetic, great music and a substantial amount of challenges to keep you going. You always get rewarded for your progress and consistently feel awesome playing every song, which made me play for so much longer than I expected. Even though I personally prefer the PS Vita version, the console release are just as enjoyable and worth playing. This is a must-play for any rhythm game fans out there.