Beat Souls Switch Review – Beating Repetition

    Title: Beat Souls
    Developer: Zoo Corporation
    Release Date: Feburary 16, 2022
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: eastasiasoft
    Genre: Rhythm

Music is a form of expression that anybody can understand and enjoy. Rhythm games are the same. All you need is a controller, good music, and a pair of headphones to settle down for a night of calming goodness. The most crucial aspect of any good rhythm game is to have a diverse roster of music to draw from. This variety ensures that players will always find different songs that they can enjoy. Unfortunately, this is an area where Beat Souls does not impress. 

This isn’t to say that the music is terrible. However, it is all done by one artist. Even when crossing genres from a pumping EDM beat to a classic rock beat, every track feels like they were cut from the same cloth. Even as I write, I struggle to remember a song that stood out. This issue is only exasperated because the gameplay doesn’t have you pressing buttons in time to the beat. Instead, you are catching notes moving yourself and your souls when needed. Surprisingly, this made the music hard to follow as I would often be standing in place, pressing nothing. 

Beat Souls 1

This lack of effort created a disconnect between me and the game, where I found I would be barely listening to the music in favor of the visual cues. On lower difficulties, this is fine, but these cues are harder to follow the higher the difficulty gets. I feel like part of the issue is due to the art direction. At first, seeing the bright neon colors and the pulsating tracks was a refreshing change. I admittedly thought of an arcade cabinet the first time the presentation greeted me. The flashing lights drew me in, but I noticed that I was experiencing extreme eye fatigue the more I played. 

This issue could have been combated by allowing players to fine-tune effects on the screen to their liking. For example, I would have preferred not to have the game up the brightness every time I entered fever mode. As it stands, the title looks good, but after around a half-hour of playing, I found it hard to keep looking. This vibrancy only stands out more on the OLED screen of my Switch. Ironically, I can look at the game in handheld mode much longer than when the game is docked. This isn’t a problem for me as I prefer to play in handheld mode. 

Beat Souls 2

While the game may be too flashy for its own good, I found that it played very well. It never stuttered, and inputs quickly registered. When you get going, it can be fun. However, I wish there was more of a reason to keep playing. Seasoned veterans of the genre will have no problem clearing every song within a night. Further, doing so will unlock the other characters and their infinite modes. Outside of that, there is nothing left to strive for besides achieving high scores.

The extra characters have their own abilities, but nothing that changes the game, especially when the three unlockable characters have a different variation of the same ability: not breaking a combo.  Why couldn’t there have been extra souls to unlock or costumes for each character? These rewards give players a reason to return and keep playing while improving their scores. Rhythm games are supposed to be simple, but this takes the idea to an extreme where it feels barebones. 

Beat Souls 3

Beat Souls tries to break the mold of its peers in the genre but feels lost in many ways. The music choices feel safe and don’t stick out. The art looks pretty but can be draining to keep track of notes, especially on greater difficulties. Add the lack of unlockable extras to keep striving for, and you get a game that is all style, no substance. There is something here that could have been special, but it failed in innovating.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Nathan Mejia

The guy who will play anything you throw at him. Will talk your ear off about anything and everything Video Game, Music, and Anime related. You have been warned.