Not all games need to be complex. Sometimes, all a game needs to be fun is a few geometric shapes and a ton of rad beats like the Ludopium developed and ARTE published rhythm-based 3D game Vectronom. At GDC 2019, we had the opportunity to bounce around in Vectronom and definitely had a good time doing so.
At first glance, one might wonder what makes Vectronom special. From looking at screenshots, it’s clear that the game solely just has a bright look and plain-and-simple geometric shapes. While yes, that is the case, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
The geometric shapes mix with music and movement in Vectronom. Using only the arrow keys, players must navigate their block through a series of challenging levels. Sounds simple enough, but really it isn’t as obstacles, like spikes and moving platforms, change in sync with the music, so all the colorful madness gets harder from level to level. So the phrase, “keeping the beat” or that one song from Junior Senior “Move Your Feet” that goes “don’t stop the beat” is a perfect way to describe how Vectronom must be played.
Once players truly get a feel of the beat, going from point A to point B is a little easier to accomplish, so getting through Vectronom is a matter of mastering every single beat in each level. Since I only had a short amount of time, I first tried rushing my way through levels, but I quickly learned that that’s not the best way to play. Vectronom is all about learning the beat first, understanding how it changes things, and then moving along with it.
Thankfully, for players, the electronic/experimental music in Vectronom is designed wonderfully to the point that players can, over time, get a good flow with. Every element in the game’s music serves a purpose, so players need to focus not only on what lies before them but also what they hear. The way that music is integrated is wildly clever and will surely be enjoyable for all the electronic music lovers out there.
What’s especially neat to note is that the game will have, surprisingly, MIDI instrument and dance mat controller support. The last time I used a dance mat was way back during the PS2-era when I played one of the many Dance Dance Revolution games. With that said, I think playing Vectronom with a dance mat will provide an even greater challenge for players. I even bet there’ll be a community of players that solely use a dance mat — and I can picture there being entertaining Twitch and Mixer streams of the game.
Players don’t have to worry about Vectronom being a one-and-done playthrough experience, though, as it’ll have a whole bunch of other features that’ll add to its replayability. Via local drop-in/drop-out multiplayer, friends can join in on the fun, adding yet another layer of complexity to the game’s levels. Speaking of levels, with the Level Editor, players will be able to create their own eccentric levels, full of insane beats and challenges. I can imagine that there’ll be some insane community-created levels, kind of similar to that of the Mario Maker‘s wide array of community-created levels.
It’s clear that Vectronom is shaping up to be a rad rhythm-based game for any player to enjoy. While it may seem simple at first, it actually has layers of complexity that make it unique and challenging. With its complex level design, expertly-arranged soundtrack, and even its alternate controller support, we recommend checking out Vectronom when it launches on PC and Switch later this year.
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