Cytus Alpha Review – A Standout Rhythm Experience

    Title: Cytus Alpha
    Developer: Rayark
    Release Date: April 25, 2019
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Flyhigh Works
    Genre: Rhythm

While I grew up with arcade games like Dance Dance Revolution, I didn’t really feel comfortable with the rhythm game genre until I imported developer Rayark’s Deemo years ago. Well, it just so happens that Rayark has expanded on its rhythm titles and have released Cytus Alpha onto a new platform. While the Cytus series is one that hardcore rhythm game fans will recognize, Cytus Alpha brings the series to Nintendo Switch and it just might be the most complete version of the title yet.

https://youtu.be/_AzdP8gUn1I

Cytus Alpha is pretty straight forward in terms of gameplay modes with most of the focus being on Story mode and Network play. The story mode isn’t actually a story, but there is text unlocked throughout the game that shows off some unique and interesting illustrations. However, this is rhythm game so who needs a story, let’s discuss what counts, the rhythm gameplay.

Cytus Alpha has an interesting rhythm mechanic that shows notes expanding on the screen while a metronome-like line travels back and forth vertically across the screens. Notes are colored orange or blue depending on whether they are to be tapped when the line is traveling up or down. This system allows for notes to pop up anywhere on the screen and requires the player to follow the line to get the timing right for when to hit the note.

Cytus Alpha 1

While I’ve never played this series before, I ended up having an easy time understanding it. Tapping the notes on the Switch’s touch screen was responsive and fluid. The game is actually pretty forgiving on timing which is nice considering how complicated the songs can get in the game. With that said, every chapter has its share of brutally fast tracks as well as normal tempo tracks which gives each chapter a nice balance in terms of difficulty. My only complaint with tapping would be that I could never really get comfortable with the Switch while playing. I would have to set it on a table in order to play it with any sort of accuracy. While this is just the nature of the beast, Cytus Alpha isn’t well suited to play using the tapping mode while on the go.

Interestingly, aside from the tap controls, the Switch versions offer the option to use a controller. I would have to say that this method is pretty tough to get the hang of, but is much more accessible than tapping. Controller mode allows players to view the entire screen without your fat hands getting in the way while using most of the buttons to tap along to the beat. The shoulder buttons are also used when doing a slide. I actually enjoyed this mode even though I never seemed to get used to it.

Cytus Alpha 2

Cytus Alpha offers a lot of tracks that never seem to end while playing through the chapters. There are even unlockable chapters that get a little more playful such as a variety of retro type songs. My only complaint would be that it’s a little slow getting to the chapters and songs which are hidden behind a list of menus. I would have preferred a single menu with all the songs on a list, but this could just be a stylistic preference.

I ended up enjoying most of the songs offered in the game and found myself returning to a handful of tracks over and over just to master them. However, I found that there were a few throwaway tracks, but that’s to be expected with so many songs and it’s probably just because I have a particular song preference, as do we all.

Additionally, there is an online multiplayer option for every song that allows players to match and go head to head with two other players. I ended up turning this mode off when going through the story because it slowed down the process of quickly getting into a song, but the feature is there and super easy to toggle on and off.

Cytus Alpha 4

Cytus Alpha is a great rhythm game that was pretty hard for me to put down. I often found myself replaying songs over and over to get perfect scores as well as trying them on tougher difficulties. If this is your first rhythm game that you’re thinking about picking up, I would say that it looks confusing at first, but is overall one of the most accessible rhythm games available, especially when using touch controls. If you’re a fan of the series or rhythm games in general then this is the full Cytus package with enough tracks and unlockable content to keep your tapping fingers satisfied for hours of gameplay.

Even though I wished that I could jump into songs quicker, Cytus Alpha is another hit rhythm game on the Switch from this developer. The team has created an amazingly responsive and unique experience that I couldn’t seem to get enough of. I can’t wait to play more rhythm titles from them as well as more of the Cytus series.

Score:
8.7/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.