Spin Rhythm – PAX Aus 2017 Hands-On
As Player2’s resident rhythm fan, I always keep my eyes open at PAXAUS for experiences that will satisfy my innate need to push buttons in time with a soundtrack. Walking around the PAX Rising section, the Spin Rhythm booth jumped out at me the moment I saw one of its developers playing their game using a Pioneer CD-J as a controller.
Developed by Steppy Pants creators Super Entertainment, Spin Rhythm follows the long-held rhythm game trope of notes falling from the top of the screen in time with a thumping soundtrack. The key difference lies in the way the player interacts with each note once they reach the bottom of the screen, where a dual-coloured, multi-segmented pink and blue wheel sits, rotated by the player with a spin of the CD-J deck. As blue notes descend, you’ll need to align a blue section of the wheel while pink notes require a pink section, which might not sound overly complicated but quickly becomes so when the colours are rapidly shifting back and forth as notes cascade. To further complicate matters, green bars require tapping the top of the deck while purple arrows involve spinning the deck quickly in the direction they face. The tutorial level was fairly simple for me as an experienced player of the genre, but I found the harder levels much more challenging and resulted in a few game-over screens during my play time. Rather than feeling frustrated however, each attempt saw me get further as I slowly mastered what actions the track required.
Designed as a touchscreen experience, it’s incredible how natural the game feels on an improvised input device like the CD-J to the point that the developers expressed interest in having some peripherals produced to provide a similar experience at home. What I would be most keen to see would be an arcade cabinet design, which would be a fantastic inclusion to any future show appearances for Spin Rhythm.
Only a few months into development, Spin Rhythm looks like a title that could generate a lot of interest and enthusiasm amongst dedicated rhythm gamers and casual gaming fans alike. With an interface mechanic that’s very easy to grasp, it provides the kind of ‘one more go’ experience essential to the most popular mobile titles.
Stephen del Prado