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Terrorhythm review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Developer: Forever Entertainment
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

I should probably be a lot more disappointed in Terrorhythm than I am. I mean, it’s a rhythm-based beat ‘em up that’s not as rhythmic as it should be, it’s a single-player game with offline-only leaderboards, and the Switch version abandoned one of the game’s big selling points on PC, which was that you could import your own music. And yet, despite all these things, I feel strangely fond towards the game.

Some of this can probably be explained by how much I love the music in Terrorhythm (or TRRT, as the game occasionally calls itself). Every single track here is big and thumping and geared towards making you want to move. WIthin seconds of starting up the first level, I found myself bopping along in my seat, and that set the tone for every other level. If you’re going to build your game around music, making that music awesome is a pretty great step.

On top of that, Terrorhythm is just oozing style. It’s brightly-coloured, things are flashing around the screen at all times, and it just all perfectly fits in with the tone the music is trying to set. Add in the fact that the main character, who stands in the middle of the screen and fights off waves of incoming enemies in time with the music, moves incredibly smoothly, and you can see why it’s easy to get sucked in to the game’s whole flashy aesthetic.

But all this flash obscures some pretty clear problems. The first is that, for a game built around attacking to the beat, it sure is difficult sometimes to tell exactly where the beats are. This is partly a function of the enemies coming intermittently rather than continuously; when you’re fighting off the bad guys, it’s easy enough to tell exactly where the beat is and whether you’re hitting it. During the lulls, however, you’re almost forced to guess where the beat is — and it doesn’t help that there’s some pretty significant lag going on. Even after going into the settings and adjusting the calibration, I found that the game’s registering of my button clicks varied pretty wildly, which made it hard to know exactly what was expected of me.

It also felt like the game was lacking in feedback. Sure, it would tell me when I lost a combo, and at the end of each level it would say how I did overall — say, 137 hits to 3 misses — but that didn’t feel like enough. Compare that to your standard rhythm game, where it ranks your hits from dead-on to merely okay, and you can see why pass/fail doesn’t seem like as good a metric.

Lastly, I’m not going to pretend it mattered that much to me and my offline-only self, but it does seem like this game missed a few opportunities as far as bells and whistles go. There are no community leaderboards, for starters, which makes the whole act of keeping local leaderboards seem kind of silly. You also can’t add in your own songs — something you apparently can do on the PC version, and which has apparently led to a semi-thriving community, if Steam reviews are anything to go by.

Like I said, though, those flaws are very easy to forgive, or at least overlook for a little bit. Terrorhythm may be lacking in some key areas, but with this much style, it’s not hard to mistake it for a significantly better game.

Forever Entertainment provided us with a Terrorhythm Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B