SUPERBEAT: XONiC – First Impressions
SUPERBEAT:XONiC has a lot to live up to – as a spiritual sequel to the Korean rhythm series DJMax, my hopes for the title are high. While you’ll have to wait until early November for my full review, here’s a quick take after my first few hours of play.
I decided that SUPERBEAT would be the first title I tested on my recently purchased Playstation TV (aka the Vita TV in Japan, a much more fitting title given it’s capabilities). After the nearly 3gb file finished downloading and installing I fired the game up.
Right from the outset, the most notable difference from ‘recent’ DJMax titles is the shift in art style. DJMax Technika Tune Producer Planetboom reprises that role for SUPERBEAT, but there is no resemblance to TT’s gorgeous candy-pop aesthetic, instead channeling the darker palette of PSP titles DJMax Black Square and DJMax Portable 3.
Playing through a few rounds of Stage mode, which is essentially the ‘Arcade’ option, it took me a while to get the hang of the new interface and control scheme. Changing the way notes fly towards the player seems to be an easy way for rhythm titles to differentiate, but it can also be off-putting for players who have dedicated time to a particular series. I’ve always preferred the DJMax/Bemani horizontal note drop myself, but I’m fairly pleased with SUPERBEAT’s vertical crescent system.
There are a few design decisions that reinforce the idea that the developers of SUPERBEAT have really gone back to the basics of the rhythm genre. The removal of MV’s during gameplay in favour of simple visualisation patterns makes it easier to achieve a state of flow during play. There is also an abundance of tracks from a range of genres – I was personally stoked to see 3rd Coast, my favourite DJMax artist, has a few tracks included.
European publisher Rising Star Games is bringing SUPERBEAT to Australia on November 12th, with a Limited Edition available to order from their website at the end of October.
It was whilst toiling away in the bowels of the now mythical Australian Gamer forums that Stephen’s attempts at writing were recognised by then up-and-coming Matt ‘Hewso’ Hewson as “not terrible”. Since then he has contributed to such sites as The Age’s now defunct Screen Play, the now-long retired Black Panel and currently serves under Editor-in-Chief Hewso for Player2.net.au, at least until the pattern of decline obvious in his previous engagements is picked up on by Hewso and he is exiled from games journalism forever.
Writes on Yugambeh land.