Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch
Publisher: X.D. Network Inc.
Release: 20th June 2019
Price: 29.99 (full package with DLCs)
There aren´t all that many rhythm games releasing each year compared to the huge stream of games constantly flooding the stores. Instead it´s one of those genres that always managed to show me quality over quantity, while finding new cool ways to achieve that. One of those titles is Muse Dash, recently ported from mobile to PC and Switch, it´s surely one hell of a colourful ride.
Similar to most other rhythm games, Muse Dash doesn´t feature a lot of content outside the levels themselves, leaderboards and your usual customization. For the base price of 2.99 on PC this isn´t surprising though. Instead it completely relies on its presentation and music selection. Featuring 40 songs in the base version and another 78 if you buy the DLC packs, totaling the price to about 29.99 if you want to own everything currently available and even coming in the future. The Switch version on the other hand already has all that for a higher base price but not DLCs.
So, with that rather confusing stuff out of the way, let´s talk about the two reasons why Muse Dash is probably the best “action”-rhythm game after Thumper. The first and most striking one
Muse Dash isn´t afraid to throw as much colour and light on the screen as possible, featuring multi layered moving backgrounds, a great music theme running through all designs and a great mix between the typical anime aesthetic and the stages’ various themes. The first stage is similar to a candy wonderland, overloading you with great looking art and vibrant colours while later ones lean more into a darker cyber theme with more lightning centered accents and so on. In short, it features a huge variety on levels and themes alone for its little price. At the same time, the menues themselves are designed just as well, with the main characters either offering entertainingly animated idle cycles, poses or reactions to your results, while the menues are simple, vibrant and well, just easy and fun to navigate.
Yet, without the actual gameplay and overall rhythm feel, all this wouldn´t come nearly as nicely into place as it does. Everything revolves around the two circles, that correspond to one button each, on the left handside, one in the air and one on the ground. Enemies keep flying to them on two lanes, corresponding to these positions, and you have to smash all of them. Additionally there are some variations like enemies that require you to press both buttons or mash one. While not a revolutionary action system it´s simply effective to create a more action heavy variations of this genre, especially since every action is perfectly animated to follow into any possible state, letting no action seem awkward in motion as well.
However, only later on it reveals it´s merciless colours. Similar to Thumper it´s fast, based on electronic or Jpop music and never gives you a break. At the same time, hitting enemies is perfectly synchronized to the beats, same with every other action. The sole problem is, that it needs a bit of time, some slow tutorials and mediocrly matched enemy placements and songs. A trade-off often present in rhythm games that either focus on electronical music that need a high speed to actually feel satisfying in action or titles like Muse Dash that begin to be truly amazing when it explodes in colour.
Muse Dash is a ton of fun and is rewarding for anyone able to have fun with a colourful, happy and challenging rhythm game. It features a great artstyle and a super fun gameplay concept that offers a simply fun time.
[A Review Code was provided by X.D. Network Inc.]