Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical is a rhythm game that will test your skills in rhythm but your sanity as well. The game is heavy on rhythm battles and replay value. Rudymical’s illustrations and sprites are heavenly influenced by Japanese anime and retro game graphics.
Originally released on iOS and Android devices in 2016, Rudymical landed on the Nintendo Switch’s eShop in early May 2017. The game is a spin-off from previous The Legend of Dark Witch entries. If this is your first time playing a game from the Dark Witch series, the story may go over your head.
Play That Funky Music Sprite Girl
When you first start the game, you have a choice of two playable characters available right from the start. As you progress, you have the option of unlocking an additional character along with alternate costumes. A common setup to influence players to replay the game but the game makes it difficult to unlock them. To obtain them, you earn “Syega Crystals”. These crystals are obtained by scoring an “A” or higher per stage in the “Story Mode”. So you can forget about re-playing stages to earn more unless you are striving for an “S” or “S+” score.
When you first play on any difficulty, you have eight stages to play. Once you pass all stages, four more will appear in the center of the stage options and clearing those will clear the story mode.
When first clearing the story mode, it’ll unlock the “Lunatic” difficulty, which is appropriately named. Having this difficulty unlocked, you’ll have a total of 52 stages to play. Sounds like a lot but it’s only 13 stages with 4 difficulty modes. I’m okay with having 13 stages to battle but having more music options would make the game feel complete, adding more replay value. Beating the stage takes about 2-3 minutes, based on playing through easy and normal difficulty modes. You could possibly complete the story mode within an hour.
While the story line has some potential to be entertaining, it falls short and confusing. Because the game is a spin-off from the series, it makes it harder for first timer players to fully grasp the story. However, rhythm games such as this one are heavily more about replay value and not it’s story.
Outside of story mode is a “VS Mode” where you battle against your friends in 1v1, and also in “CO-OP Mode” for a 2-player team match. You are still using the same stages but with different gameplay modes. In these modes, the screen is split for two players. In “VS Mode” you can paralyze or turn their screen black in order to gain advanced of scoring points, similar to Mario Kart racing when taking out your opponent for a brief time. Score the most points will gain you victory and bragging rights.
The game uses illustrations for its cutscenes and have little to no animation. This is common for anime-influenced games that are based on illustrations. Many Japanese role-playing games use this style for cutscenes. The sprites are fun and creative. Their unique animations in battle have their own unique attacks.
Play Like You Mean It
The game’s controls are very simple so picking it up isn’t difficult until playing harder modes. You cut down “Boing-boings” (bullets) thrown from your opponent or jump to avoid lasers by using only the controller’s directional buttons. Playing in the “Lunatic” difficulty is no walk in the park. Expect to memorize the buttons and attacks for each stage.
Cutting each colored boing-boing and jump is based on each directional button. For example, jump is the down-directional button. Cut the red boing-boings is the right direction, blue is the top direction and green is the left direction. Missing or poorly timed attacks will lose your hit combo and health.
At the top of the screen are health meters for you and your opponent. If you miss your attack or get hit you’ll lose health. The opponent loses their health by making your attacks correctly. Creating “perfect” and combos will help to speed up, depleting your opponent’s health. Timing your attacks is the key to land “perfect” attacks.
First one to lose their entire health is defeated. At the end of battle, you are graded based on how many “Perfect”, “Great”, “Good” and “Misses” you made. The game is very tedious on scoring. You can get a perfect combo, never missed and still get graded a “B”. The lowest you can go is a “C” and after that you fail. If you are looking for that “A” or higher, expect to re-play the stage more than once.
Gaining “Perfect” and “Great” is key and you can still get “Misses” to get an “A”. Based on the different grades I received, I personally feel the grading is a bit off.
Fight With the Rhythm Not Against It
While Rudymical’s music isn’t memorable, it is still enjoyable in battle. A fair range of different rhythms and tempos such as jazz and pop make the stages pretty fun. Memorizing the stage’s attacks and rhythm is the key to get that high grade at the end.
Playing it On-the-Go
I’ve actually had more fun playing the game undocked than on the TV. Having to stare at a larger screen I lose focus on objects running all over the screen whereas on a smaller screen it is easier to detect attacks. Rudymical is a game that you need to focus. The battery life on the game is quite great especially when using about 50% of brightness, which gets you around 6 hrs of gameplay.
Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical requires a lot of practice to master but little to start. The sprites and illustrations are fun but with the storyline so short the game is left with replay value. With only a limited amount of music in its library, the game feels shorter than it should while having potential to be even better.
Review Copy Provided by Circle Entertainment