Title: Muse Dash
Release Date: June 20, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: X.D. Network Inc.
I’m no stranger to rhythm games. Over the years, the genre has become one of the biggest time sinks in my gaming history. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve played through one track or another on a Hatsune Miku game well passed mastering the song.
So in a generation where rhythm games do their best to stand out in terms of complexity and originality, developer PeroPeroGames is dialing it back with their rhythm game Muse Dash, which offers an easy point of entry to new fans of the genre, but rhythm game veterans might be turned away by the game’s repetitive nature. However, there’s always the game’s waifu cast of characters to keep players coming back for more.
Muse Dash doesn’t have a story and if it did would it really matter? What it does have is some of the cutest characters to ever be in a rhythm game (sorry, Hatsune Miku). While players can check out each of the game’s characters at the beginning of the game, only one is accessible from the start. Through gameplay, players will level up and be awarded items. These items are then used to unlock new characters and Elfins.
Gameplay in Muse Dash has characters running to the right. As they run, enemies will appear in two different lanes, either by ground or air. It’s up to the player to wait for the perfect moment to strike. Everything is mapped to two buttons that allow players to attack from the ground or jump. Things get a little fancier when they combine jumping with a ground attack, but everything here is fairly straightforward.
Even though the game only has two buttons, the level of complexity gets rather high, especially when the game throws a rapid line of enemies at the player from two different lanes. Still, once I got to level 30, I felt like I saw every combination of enemies that the game had to throw at me and every song became undisguisable, save for the song itself.
This is where the game’s amazing soundtrack picks up the slack. Each track is catchy and doesn’t overstay its welcome by being too long. This makes multiple playthroughs a little easier to get through since succeeding at some of the challenges can be time-consuming, but more on that later. During each track, players will be able to attack a number of enemies until the level’s boss. While there are plenty of enemy designs, they are each handled the same way, with a tap of a button. However, there is a ghost enemy that appears and disappears before getting to the character so timing is key with those enemies, but other than that, everything pretty much acts in the same manner.
All extra content in the game is locked behind the player’s level, which offers a nice feeling of progression. While I enjoyed gaining levels and unlocking new songs, only one song is unlocked at a time — meaning that if you are just trying to coast through the game, you’ll be stuck playing one song a few times before progressing to the next. With that said, Muse Dash isn’t meant to be dashed through, instead, the developer has added a few challenges to keep players busy while playing tracks multiple times.
Every track in the game has challenges across each difficulty setting. While some songs only have two difficulty modes, higher difficulties will have tougher challenges. Some challenges aren’t so bad like getting Full Combo on a song or reaching a high score, but others are a bit more demanding like hitting all small enemies Perfectly on a high difficulty.
Now, why would players want to play through all these songs, over multiple difficulty levels, over and over again? Well for the waifus of course. Muse Dash’s waifu characters are unlocked randomly as players gain levels. Each level gives the players two items that can unlock either an Elfin or a character. Characters and Elfins each have an ability that they bring to the match, but honestly, I only wanted to unlock them because they were cute as hell.
Muse Dash does a great job at incentivizing players to play through the game’s entire 50+ soundtrack list. However, this was originally a mobile game and from the start players, via the PC version, have the option to purchase more tracks, which make leveling less repetitive given that you have new tracks to play, but it also makes me roll my eyes to see so many songs locked behind a paywall from the very start of the game. With that said, the base game offers hours of gameplay and this is at an extremely low cost of entry.
Muse Dash is a great entry level rhythm game that has higher difficulty features that can easily appeal to the more hardcore fanbase, even with the game’s 2 button layout. The game’s upbeat and energetic characters paired with its cartoonish and playful aesthetic makes for a fun way to spend an evening. This is a game that requires you to enjoy the music and mechanics because in order to get anywhere in it you’ll need to play through the tracks a handful of times. Luckily, that’s an easy thing to do because each song is consistently good.
Every system in the game compliments the other in Muse Dash which never allows the seemingly repetitive nature of the game affects the game’s fun factor. When all’s said and done, this is an easy to pick up and addictive rhythm game that gets increasingly difficult over each track. While the PC version is held back by its pay-to-unlock extra tracks, I was still able to squeeze an easy 10 hours of gameplay out of the game with more challenges calling my name.
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