I love rhythm games, especially stylish ones. Between the music and getting into the groove of each song, there’s just this really great zen quality to them. That held true for the Klang 2 beta I had the chance to try on Xbox One recently, and man, I’m sad I missed the first game if it’s anywhere near as fun as its sequel.
The gameplay is pretty simple: You have three types of attacks you need to line up and hit in time with the music. There’s a basic circle attack, a directional triangle dodge, and a square hold. In order to complete the move, you also need to make sure Klang is facing in the direction of each prompt. If you miss a step, you lose a little bit of life, but when you hit you’re greeted with some flashy animations.
After the tutorial fight, the demo does something I really liked: It doesn’t waste your time. You can continue playing the campaign as designed, which opens up four new songs for you to practice on; you can jump immediately to the first boss; or you can take on hard or insane challenge stages to test your mettle. I chose to first jump into the practice levels to see what the game had on offer. In order to fight the boss, you need to collect seven tokens. The practice fights give a maximum of four tokens, depending on your ranking: S rank will earn four, A three, B two, C one. Of the four practice songs, my favorite by far was Endless and Artificial, by City Girl, an upbeat and catchy electronica piece that was easy to zone out to. The other practice songs were the funky Troopa, by Steven Silo; Sunburn, also by Steven Silo; and Limeaid, by the game’s main composer, bLiNd. After accruing enough tokens, I was able to take on the first boss and end the demo.
Once I was done doing the campaign mode, I jumped into the challenge stage, and it was incredibly fun. The pace increased and instead of needing to hit a bunch of unconnected notes, the attacks were strung together. If you didn’t flow between them in the proper order, you’d take damage. It took a little getting used to, but once I’d worked it out the fluidity was addictive. The insane stage, on the other hand, cranked everything up to 11 and was far beyond my skills, but it’s definitely something I’d love to work my way up to.
Playing through the campaign portion of the trial did tease Klang 2‘s story. From what I could piece together, you play as Klang, a young man trying to recover a lost weapon and defeat evil shadow creatures controlled by a Soundlord. Each level is another step toward obtaining that weapon. Having not played the first game, I can’t say if it’s a continuation of that story or not, but it felt self-contained enough that a newcomer to the franchise could work out what’s going on.
Developer Tinimations describe the story of Klang 2 thusly:
Imprisoned in a facility at an unknown location, Klang finds himself forced to continuously hone his rhythm-combat skills inside audiovisual simulations. As time goes on it becomes harder for Klang to distinguish what’s real, which plays into the storytelling and its theme of blindness.
The futuristic, “techno-Greek” design aesthetic of this game is beautiful, with vibrant neons and crisp, clean lines that compliment the dynamic lighting. It feels like you’re in a club, and the music fits it perfectly. Tinimations says the game takes cues not only from cult classic Tron, but also musical symbolism and Greek sculpture.
Klang 2 will release in 2020 on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I want to go and give its predecessor a go before this one releases.
You can read oprainfall’s review of the original Klang here.