Radiohammer review: Get hammered!

Ever since the DS/PSP generation of handhelds, rhythm games have been top notch in the portable market. Everything fromHatsune Miku to DJ Max Portable to Theatrhythm Final Fantasy has graced small screens as contenders for some of the best musical experiences. While the aforementioned titles are all full retail franchises, there have been some gems exclusively on the 3DS eShop, specifically games like Harmoknight. A 3DS port of a mobile title, Radiohammer hopes to suck in players with simplistic yet addictive gameplay; however, while the game is decadent in short bursts, players may want to change the station after a while.

Radiohammer chronicles the lives of three DJs (and one guest character exclusively to this port) as they tackle obstacles like perverts, aliens, zombies, and shopping crowds. If there’s one thing that’s great about this game, it’s the imaginative setting and colorful environments. Players control a DJ by whacking enemies in sequence using two buttons (X/B or top and bottom D-pad inputs) or tap controls. An unlockable mode even consolidates the action into one button, making for a very different experience. Sounds will change as players hit perfect, great, good, or bad notes, and there are gifts that players can take using the Y or left buttons. Fundamentally, it works like a charm; tactile feedback is great here, and the no-frills approach (three buttons) works great when focusing on enemies. Compared to the mobile version, it does look a bit less aesthetically pleasing, with somewhat more pixilation than its counterpart, but it makes up for that deficiency by offering fluid input timing.

While the nonsensical but endearing plot is a strong point, there’s a whole lot to be concerned about. While I did enjoy my time overall with the game, I needed to put down the game after 15-25 minute bursts; the game, after all, is based on a mobile title, and as such, can be a bit dull if one were to try and play the game in one go. Additionally, DJs need to be unlocked sequentially, which is a bit of a nuisance considering that most songs are repeated throughout a playthrough (with chains of four or five songs common near the end of each DJ’s episodes.) Load times are unfortunately present because of this, with five second load times for about every two songs. This is normally acceptable in most games, but here, it breaks up the pacing considerably due to the fast paced nature of the genre. While it’s a few hours long, it does seem to drag due to the fact that the difficulty slowly adjusts to a point where the only really difficult levels are near the very end. Other than one type of faster enemy, the game doesn’t change up the variety of patterns very much. The mobile “three achievement” system (which awards stars and other items based on things like “don’t miss” and “get X amount of combos”) seems a bit clunky here.

All in all, Radiohammer is like top 40 music on the radio; it’s fun in short bursts, but listen to it for more than an hour straight and you start to see the flaws in it. However, a fluid control scheme and imaginative setting may make up for the middling pacing of the title; why not give it a spin and see for yourself?

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