Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical is a rhythm game based on the Dark Witch series, which was a 2D sidescroller for the Nintendo 3DS. The game retains the sprites and the music from the 3DS titles, but has completely ditched the sidescrolling action for a rhythm game instead. Honestly, I didn’t have a lot of expectations when I picked this game up, and it ended up for the most part being fairly under-average.
The most glaring problem for this game is its lack of content. You start off with only eight songs, and can unlock five more for a total of thirteen songs in the game (though they do not ever tell you that you can unlock more until you just complete the eight songs). Thirteen songs are ridiculously low for a rhythm game, and though they do have four difficulties per song, this still doesn’t make it nearly viable. Though I understand this is a limitation based upon the fact that the original games were not rhythm games, and also that the game isn’t the most expensive (especially for a Switch game) it’s pretty hard to get enough playtime out of it. The songs themselves aren’t necessarily bad, but I didn’t think they were anything special either – just rather generic video game music.
Though the art has some effort put into it, the general layout of the actual gameplay isn’t exactly eye-catching. The sprites are definitely suitable for the kind of 2D sidescroller that the game was originally, but it overall just doesn’t translate smoothly to the rhythm game. That being said, the plot of the game that you can unlock by completing songs does feature some pretty good art (though I am biased towards anime/manga art styles), though it does seem just like a condensed version of the plot from its origin game.
The gameplay is fairly simple – the “bosses” you face throw different coloured balls or “attacks” at you, in rhythm with the song, and your job is to deplete the bosses HP bar by successfully breaking the balls or avoiding attacks by pressing the right button at the right time. If you miss a ball or an attack hits you, your own HP bar depletes, and your goal is to essentially to deplete the enemy HP bar before yours does. This system doesn’t really make complete sense though as, as it is with most rhythm games, the real aim is to time every hit perfectly without missing a single one. The fact you “damage” the enemy by purely defending does feel unsatisfying, but overall, the gameplay doesn’t fail to be “fun”. It is enjoyable, and good for passing the time, and ends up being really challenging (especially when you unlock the Lunatic difficulties). I do think that enjoying the gameplay may be entirely down to your personal feelings on rhythm games in general though, so if you do not enjoy rhythm games, I really strongly doubt this will be the one that would help you get into the genre.
Through the gameplay, you collect gems called “Syega”, and by collecting them you unlock different characters for you to play with. You get one every time you score an “A” or above – which you need to score 800,000 points (80% of the max) for. The problems with this are that firstly, the character you are playing with doesn’t actually change anything. Although I’m not about to argue that cosmetic purchases are completely useless, it does make the unlock system fairly underwhelming and pointless. The larger problem with the unlock system is that you don’t actually need to spend them to buy characters, and rather characters are unlocked depending on how many you have. This does seem awkward to me, as the player doesn’t really have any control over which cosmetic items to actually unlock and considering they actually do not have any benefits, it doesn’t seem like it’s necessary to have these restrictions on them.
Overall, the game isn’t brilliant, and doesn’t do anything special that any other rhythm game wouldn’t provide. There are free rhythm games on your phone that are far more polished than this game is. The game did feel like it had potential but just fell short on so many levels, and the lack of actual music in a rhythm game is a pretty glaring problem. However, if you are really into rhythm games and want to have more to play on the Switch, I definitely wouldn’t say you shouldn’t buy it. However, with some rhythm games, such as VOEZ for the Switch, they are well done to the point where people who don’t enjoy rhythm games will still have a lot of fun playing it. Unfortunately, with Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical, this is not the case, and unless you just tend to enjoy all games within that genre, I doubt you’d like it.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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