By Richard Ross / October 27th, 2012
Official Website: http://www.orgarhythm.com
Publisher: XSEED Games
Developer: Neilo/Acquire Corp.
Release Date: October 23rd, 2012
Rating: ESRB E
I have yet to find a game I can truly say was worth buying a Vita for. After eight months, the main function my Playstation Vita has been serving as my Netflix machine while I’m playing on other consoles. Sure, there have been other games such as Gravity Rush and Uncharted: Golden Abyss, but Gravity Rush was over before it really began and Uncharted…I’ve played it before on the Playstation 3. For a while I’ve been struggling to find a reason to turn on the Vita, and with Orgarhythm, I think I found a good reason.
Orgarhythm is a self-described music strategy game, which is to say it’s a rhythm game. You control the God of Light in his quest to stop his brother from devouring all he has created on the earth. At least that’s the story I got from the manual, there is virtually no story telling within the game opting for what is essentially NES era manual reading. Although it may have been nice to put some story tidbits while selecting the stage to understand who the boss you’re about to fight is it doesn’t really take away from the game.
The art style would be best described as cartoonish. The characters are for the most part very simple and serviceable. I enjoyed the dancing of the god of light and his warriors as it reminds me of a circle in the middle of a dance floor with the warriors being the people surrounding the circle just keeping rhythm and the god of light being that douchebag in the middle who think he can dance. Most of the personality and details went into the bosses of each stage which makes every encounter something to look forward to.
The controls are entirely touchscreen based and employ something called “tri-tapping.” “Tri-tapping” is the process of tapping the god, followed by the element, then finally the warrior (attack type) to the rhythm of the music. While tapping on every beat will help gain levels faster (level 5 being the maximum) you can tap as fast as you’re comfortable with. After “tri-tapping” you drag your finger along the screen where you want the warriors deployed, the longer the drag the more warriors deployed.
The game plays out like a musical game of rock-paper-scissors, with each element having a weakness to one of the other 2 elements. Yellow (earth) is strong against blue (water), blue is strong against red (Fire), and red is strong against yellow. Enemies are color coded accordingly, but at times blue and yellow can look the same, so fortunately each enemy also has a health bar above them that also shows what color they are. There are some enemies that have to be disposed of different such as enemies behind a fence need to be taken out with archers and enemies on top of hills taken out with catapults. When attacking with archers and catapults I found that you need to be a little more exact on where you want to deploy them as if you drag them along the fence (or hill) the warriors will continue running into the obstacle.
Boss battles all have different strategies to completing them quickly and efficiently, but in the second half of the game they start to repeat with beefier versions of the first time you fought them, which sometimes means they’re easier ironically enough. There is at least one boss which will have you scratching your head on what exactly to do, and while I applaud the game for its lack of hand holding, that was an instance that could have benefited from a tip system of some sort.
Music in a rhythm game can ruin the entire experience if it isn’t catchy enough to tap along to. Fortunately the music in Orgarhythm is pretty damn awesome! There is not one song in the game where I didn’t find myself tapping my foot along to the beat of the music. With their ambitious plan to eventually have up to 100 songs as DLC, there isn’t a shortage of variety. Each stage has a different song when traveling to the boss which also has a different song that is usually the same theme/genre as the stage music. While the Vita’s speakers are very capable of emitting the sound you need to keep the beat, headphones are almost necessary for later stages as the rhythm becomes more subtle. There is a reticule in the middle that tries to keep the beat for you, but you’re probably better off turning up the volume to find it yourself.
There is a multiplayer portion of the game, but it is ad-hoc so I didn’t get a chance to play it. According to the Near app it says there were at least seven other people nearby who have Vitas, but showing up randomly would probably be creepy. Fortunately the games single-player stands on its own just fine.
Orgarhythm is a game that I loved every minute playing and hope it does as well as it deserves as I felt that this game has validated the purchase of my Vita. With games like this, Ragnarok Odyssey, and Persona 4: The Golden coming out, it looks like my Vita will be used for something more than Netflix.