Review: Radiohammer (Nintendo 3DS)

Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Arc System Works
Genre: Rhythm
Release Date: 12/11/2015

It looks like there’s time for one more new rhythm game this year. Though previously released on mobile devices, Radiohammer got a bit of an upgrade for this handheld release. That means having to hit two different buttons instead of merely tapping the screen! Genius! I kid. Anyway, this is an interesting title for someone looking for a cheap rhythm game to hone their skills. Let’s take a look.

radiohammer1There’s not much plot here, but there is a setup. The idea is that Radiohammer is some sort of music station that sends its employees to save the world from incoming threats. These threats can be as serious as an invading alien force, and as terrifying as a group of perverts trying to flash young women. Each of the four “DJs” also has a talking animal companion for some reason. I don’t know. Just go with it. Anyway, they keep bashing baddies with giant hammers until they get to a boss. The boss also gets bashed. Then it kind of ends. It’s amusing, but don’t expect more than a few lines of dialogue.

Visually, the game looks fine, but gets pretty bland during long play sessions. The characters look great, but suffer from only a few different animations that play out several times each during the course of even the shortest songs. The enemies, no matter what the type, simply run in from the right side of the screen. They either get knocked away when you land a hit, or perform an attack if you miss. The perverts attack involves opening a trench coat, which is probably the most amusing animation in the game. There are a variety of different backgrounds, properly themed for each of the four DJs, but the environments are nothing more than static backgrounds. There isn’t any life to them. The lack of action makes it easy to zone out while playing the game, which is less than ideal.

Audio is king in rhythm games. Unfortunately, all this game has to offer is a large number of generic synthesizer tracks. They do cover a few different genres. There’s some funk, some rock, and a little bit of pop. However, each track is like one or two minutes long at most. They go by in a flash and are completely forgettable. As such, the game often has to throw three or four of them at you in a row. The sound effects are few and far between. Basically, there’s a different sound depending on the timing of your button presses. A perfect hit will result in a loud, clear crash, while anything less gets a softer sound. The reward for getting those crashes is being able to get a better feel for the beat. It’s a nifty feature.

radiohammer2Much like any rhythm game, the goal here is too hit notes as they cross a threshold. Hitting notes in time build up your score. Missing notes cause your health bar to lower. If that health bar drops to zero, the game is over. Simple as that.

You can play this game with either the buttons or the touch screen. Either way, you only have to worry about three different inputs. You can press up or down to hit notes as they run in from the right side of the screen. There are two different planes, an upper and a lower, that they run out. You simply hit the directional button that matches the plane of the note that is crossing the threshold. It’s that easy.

There are a couple of other mechanics. At various intervals during each song, you’ll be given a present. You can open this by pressing left, the y button, or tapping the right button on the screen. Presents give you various bonuses, such as health, extra fever meter, or an attack that will reward you with extra meter if you can get a perfect hit. However, sometimes you’ll be offered a bad present. If you accept this, you’ll be given some sort of negative stat. It can be tough to keep track of these presents during songs, but the rewards outweigh the negatives.

I mentioned the fever meter. This fills up as you land hits. When it’s full, you’ll go into fever mode and score bonus points. If you’re going for a good high score, you’re going to want to activate this several times per song.

radiohammer3As for modes, you have the story mode and a free play mode. For story mode, you go through each level in order. Beat one, and unlock the next. You can attempt to earn stars to increase your rating, but that’s only if you care to. It all comes down to not messing up anyway. The free play mode will let you use any DJ on any song, or you can have a random group of songs come your way. It would be a fine set up if the tracks were at all memorable. Good luck trying to remember the name of your favorite.

There is one nifty thing. After you beat each song in the story, you unlock the “another mode” version. This is actually the original gameplay you would have found on the mobile game. You only have to tap button, but the game is harder thanks to how they stagger the enemies out.

It’s not a bad game really. I didn’t find it particularly challenging, but it can definitely serve as a simpler game to get someone more comfortable with the genre. The music is the key though, and this game just doesn’t deliver on that front.

Short Attention Span Summary

diehardjack1-150x150Radiohammer is fine little rhythm game for the 3DS eshop. The music is forgettable, and the gameplay is simple to a fault at times. However, it works a decent alternative to more challenging experiences you’d get with other games in the genre. It’s worth a look if you’re someone new to the genre, or just want something simpler with which to kill some time. It doesn’t wow, but it will do in a pinch.



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