SUPERBEAT: XONiC Review

By MunchMagic1986,
SUPERBEAT: XONiC (Vita) is the latest game from Nurijoy, a studio that consists of developers who created the PSP game DJMax of which this game is considered a spiritual successor. It is a Music and Rhythm game that has you hitting notes as they reach the 'trax' along to the beat of a song. We put on our headphones and did our finger stretches to get stuck in and find out if this is on the right TRAX or whether it misses the beat.

SUPERBEAT: XONiCSUPERBEAT: XONiC

Once you begin the game, you will be treated to a relaxing and in-depth tutorial that covers all of the basics of the game. This can also be repeated whenever you need to remember just what input does, as there is quite a lot. The gameplay seems rather simple at first. Notes of different colours, shapes and sizes start moving from the centre of the screen to the left and right; once they reach the 'gear', hit the input. Pacing changes a lot with each song, from slow and relaxed to very fast and frantic. Once you beat a song, you will be given a rank based on various factors including your note and perfect hit accuracies, your highest combo and how many times you broke your combo. You will also be given a score and some XP, which will level you up and unlock new songs, DJ avatars and DJ Accessories.

As with a lot of Rhythm games, the first thing that you are probably wondering is how the controls work. The answer is any way you want. There are three control systems -- Touch, Button, or a mix of the two. When you use the buttons, you will be using them all bar cn_right and cn_O. Different stages of the game will have a different amount of notes. 4TRAX starts you with four buttons, the analogue sticks and the touchscreen (which can be controlled with the sticks), 6TRAX adds in two extra buttons and finally 6TRAX FX adds in the shoulder buttons. Sometimes there can be a bit too much going on with your hand squeezed around the Vita, especially going between the buttons and screen to the analogue sticks.

Multiple notes incomingMultiple notes incoming

As you can tell by the controls, the game has a lot of difficulty. How much difficulty? That is almost entirely up to you. There is a vast amount of customisation as far as difficulty goes. There are the standard difficulties - Easy, Medium and Hard - then the level of TRAX that you play has varying difficulties with the amount of button inputs in play. During song selection and during play you have the option of increasing or decreasing the game speed in increments of 0.5, from 0.5x speed all the way to 5.0x speed. For 5.0x you may need to have the finger and reaction speed of The Flash as you get about 0.2 seconds from the note appearing to when it needs hit. That's not all, though; there are also modifiers that you can select from the song menu. These can flip the notes around, make the visibility of the notes flash on and off and even make them invisible after they have travelled a certain distance along the track. Finally, of course, each song has its own base difficulty. Needless to say the team has put a lot of effort into making sure that you stay challenged.

There are over 50 unique songs in the game. Unlike a lot of rhythm games, Superbeat doesn't limit themselves to a select genre. There is a little bit of something for everyone, including R&B, Electric, House, Metal, K-Pop and more. Each genre has some patterns to them as far as the notes are concerned, and you can often tell just how a level will play out from the song selection screen where the music is playing in the background. You can jazz up each song with sound modifiers that change the sound made when you hit a note. There are the musical ones such as snare drum, wood block and tambourine, all the way to the crazy sounding shotgun, clap and mini dog bark. We highly recommend playing a heavy metal song with the dog bark, although it is hard to concentrate with all the laughing that ensues.

Taking a screenshot while playing this is very hard!Taking a screenshot while playing this is very hard!

There are two main game modes: Stage and World Tour. Stage is where you select whether you want to play 4TRAX, 6 TRAX or 6TRAX FX. Each of these consists of a set amount of stages, with each stage giving you a slightly harder set of songs each time. Stage also includes a Freeplay area where you can just relax and choose whichever song you want and your combo carries over across all of the songs.

World Tour acts as more of a challenge mode with each set of tracks requiring you to hit a certain combo or percentage of perfect notes, or even add a handicap such as increased speed. These start off relatively easy but they quickly get progressively harder -- some of the later ones are just downright insane. This mode is truly for the rhythm masters. Players who are new to rhythm games will need a lot of practise before attempting some of these. There are 14 Tours to try and to challenge yourself to become a master of the game. Find out from your insurance company if a smashed Vita that is stuck in a wall is covered by your insurance before trying the later ones because they are that painfully hard.

World Tour menuWorld Tour menu

While the game gets a whole lot of things right, there are a couple of little annoyances. Most of the stages in World Tour, and the 6TRAX FX mode, are locked at the start. While these can be unlocked by levelling up, unfortunately it does not tell you anywhere at what level they unlock, which can be quite frustrating. There was also the corruption of our game save, wiping all progress in the process. Whether this is a key issue for them or just a random occurrence, it is still worth keeping in mind.

The trophies are not too tricky. There are a couple that will require you to get the top ranking in TRAX and getting to the hard levels in World Tour, but the majority of them will come just through playing the game for a while and unlocking all of the various content. The trophies are quite fitting for the game where most of it is accessible for the players who are either new to the series or not great at some of the harder content. However, to get all of the trophies requires a lot of skill and practice. Getting an overall S++ ranking in 6 TRAX FX is going to be a toughie.

Summary

Overall, this is a very fun and fast-paced title that is great for inexperienced players to the genre and also for veterans who really want to up their game. The difficulty, sound and speed modifiers add both fun and challenge to the game. If you are someone who increases a game's difficulty to get more replay value then it could be a while before you even think about putting this down due to the level of customisation that is available in both the controls and gameplay, which we simply cannot praise enough. Add to this a fantastic and varied soundtrack and you have a great rhythm game — a must play for fans of Music & Rhythm games.
4 / 5
SUPERBEAT: XONiC (Vita)
Positives
  • Multiple controls schemes
  • Soundtrack is a perfect fit for the game
  • Various difficulty modifiers
  • Changing your note sound adds some fun
  • High replay value
Negatives
  • Locked items and modes don't indicate the unlock requirement
  • Your hands are too cramped on the Vita for fast button pressing
  • Gamesave got corrupted removing all progress
Ethics
Jordan played the game for seven hours, earning 11 of the game's 33 trophies. A copy of this title was provided by the publisher, Rising Star Games, for the purpose of this review.