PAX West 2018: Soundfall

Friday, August 31st, 2018

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I love rhythm games, so when I heard about Soundfall it sounded like a winner. The debut title by Drastic Games, it was well situated in the PAX Rising booth. That’s where they put indie titles that have the potential to become something more, and while I have some mixed impressions, overall I felt pretty favorably about the game. Let me explain why.

Soundfall | Attack

When I said Soundfall is a rhythm game, what I neglected to say is that it’s also a dungeon crawling twin-stick shooter rhythm game. If that sounds like a lot to take in, that’s cause it is. I was quickly worried that this would be too much to learn, but thankfully I was only partially correct.

Soundfall | Transport

You move around with the left joystick and use the right to aim where you’re going to attack. Having said that, there did seem to be a mild form of auto locking onto the nearest enemy. Which is good, since that’s only the first step. The second step is that you need to time your attacks to the beat of the music. There’s a handy cursor on the bottom of the screen to keep track. Time your attacks poorly, and they’ll do significantly less damage. When you’re surrounded by foes, this can make or break your run. Thankfully, it didn’t take me that long to start getting the hang of things. The only downside is that, just when I felt I had, I got beaten by a boss. Though to be more accurate, I got beaten by the clock.

Soundfall | Meteor

Here’s my complaint. A game that’s already this complex doesn’t need to time you, but Soundfall pits you against the clock. You have until the music ends to beat every stage, and that can be a challenge. On the plus side, even when you fail, you’ll gain experience to ultimately use to power up your attacks.

Soundfall | Bullet Hell

While I may wish that Soundfall was a bit less ambitious, and perhaps that it was even an on-rails experience instead of you controlling the characters directly, there’s definitely more good than bad here. Hopefully with a bit more time, the devs can polish it even further mechanically. Visually, the game is delightful, and the music is pulse pounding in the best way. If you want to check out this ambitious rhythm game, you’re in luck, since it’s headed to Steam, PS4, XBox One and Nintendo Switch sometime in 2019.

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.