Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This is a good time to be a gamer with my tastes.

Like ermigerd.  First off, obviously,

I'm still playing as much Overwatch as I can - though I've pretty much abandoned comp mode - and word is the Halloween content is supposed to drop today!  Witch Mercy skin please.


Darkest Dungeon is on my Vita (though it occasionally hops over to my PS4).  It is, currently, the only game on my Vita with its own page.  Just the game icon, hovering beneath the ruins of the old manor.  I don't know if it'll stay in a place of such honor forever, but it's the best darned dungeon-crawling turn-based psychological-horror Lovecraftian Roguelike in the land, and having it on my favorite and most-convenient platform is... luminous.

Third, and I'm so glad to be able to say this,

I'm not big into rhythm games.  I played a little Elite Beat Agents on my younger brother's DS like a decade ago, I got drunk and played Rock Band at a party once (lead vocals), and recently I dipped my toe in the genre with Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Superbeat Xonic and Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit - but none of them really grabbed me. 

This.  Is.  Different.  This is amazing.  

And I immediately get the "rhythm violence" phrase the devs have been bandying about for the past two years.  As soon as I started playing it, the concept just clicked.  Works like this: 

Y'know how when you miss a note in Elite Beat Agents or Rock Band, you lose a bit of score, there's a wonky sound instead of a nice musical note and the song keeps playing. 

In Thumper, when you miss a note, you go smashing through a barrier and lose your armor.  In Thumper, when you miss anything after that, bablam, you die. 

Start over.  You just got owned by the beat.  

Not all missed notes can kill you, but missing the press at the beginning of a hold, for example, can cost you everything, and a lot of the game is about held notes.  Every time you see me take a turn in the video above, ricocheting off those walls is the result of hitting a beat (X), and then drifting into the corner (analog stick left or right while holding X).  Every time you see me fly through a half-dozen quickly-timed beats, that's a hold, and it might have an analog stick modifier - so no, you won't get hurt if you miss that beat, but you'll get obliterated if you're not already holding down X and ready to jam the analog stick away from the wall before you hit it, or into the rapid notes as you launch into them.

Its boss fights are brilliant.  Each stage of the fight, the boss launches beats at you, and you have to match them perfectly (audio cues do a great job of letting you know what's coming, in time with the beat).  You have to hit every single beat in a boss fight to spawn the shimmering beat that - when correctly hit - will damage the boss.  You hit the shiny beat, damage the boss, and the boss moves on to the next phase, with a new rhythm.  

You may have to stumble through this next rhythm a half-dozen times before you nail every single note and spawn that shiny note, but the end result is that it does feel like you are fighting this thing through music.  It's like the Cajun crocodile boss in Sly Cooper but not shitty.  

It's like how I imagine winning a dance off feels.  


  1. Oh child, things are gonna get beeeEEEEeeetuuuuurrrrr....

    1. *easier. And yes, yes it will! (Also, brighter.)

    2. brighter! it was brighter... this is why i can't do karaoke! :(