PAX West IMPRESSIONS: Klang

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

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Klang | Logo

I’d never heard of Klang before scheduling my demo session. However, after spending some time with the game, and speaking with some of the dev team, it’s gone on to be one of my most anticipated games of the next month. I got a chance to talk with creator Tom-Ivar Arntzen and composer bLiNd about the upcoming rhythm platformer, in addition to playing the demo.

Klang | Waveform

Klang is a twist on the traditional rhythm genre by also incorporating standard platforming elements such as running, jumping, wall-jumping and sliding, all of which the player can do freely. However, the platforming is easiest when done in time to the music, and with some practice, movement across the game can be fast and fluid, without mistimed jumps or slowing down. However, the biggest rhythm element is in the combat, where the player hits the face buttons or flicks the right stick in the direction of incoming attacks to reflect them back at enemies. Attacks come, as one might expect, in time with the music, with harder fights having enemies attacking from eight different directions and coming more quickly and in different patterns. It’s pretty straightforward, but the game uses the left trigger to jump, which takes some getting used to. Later parts of the demo also throw environmental hazards into the mix, making the player take on enemies from all directions, attacking constantly, while needing to keep track of and avoid the hazards.

Klang | Walljumping

The graphics have brightly-colored lights contrasting sharply against the dark background. Enemy attacks start out as bright orange against the fairly uniform dark blue background, which starts shifting colors as fights go on. The extensive use of bright and contrasting colors gives a very trippy effect, with enemies and certain other environmental features really standing out. However, what stands out by far the most is the music. If you’ve listened to OverClocked Remix in the past, specifically the Final Fantasy VII album, you may recognize the name of bLiNd; he’s an EDM composer with some fame on YouTube, who primarily does remixes of video game music. The trance music is all incredibly well-suited to the game’s style, something I mentioned to him in our conversation. He said that the only direction he was given for the music was to make it sound “blue”, and enjoyed the almost complete artistic freedom he was given with the vague direction that left him free to experiment.

Klang | Big door

Klang is very close to release, set to come out on Steam on September 22. If you are a fan of fast-paced platformers, rhythm games, or even EDM music, I’d strongly recommend you take a look when it comes out. I know I’ll be keeping a close eye on it.

About Chris Melchin

Chris is a computer science student who has been gaming ever since he knew what to do with a Super Nintendo controller. Since then, he's owned every Nintendo console to be released. His favourite games include Xenoblade Chronicles, Persona 4 Golden, and Little Busters. He started watching anime in high school, and his favourite series is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. He also writes Vocaloid music for his personal YouTube channel, and has a (slight) obsession with Megurine Luka.