Akihabara: Feel the Rhythm combines a rhythm game structure with a puzzle game format. However, one questions whether the game actually manages to create a game within this format that successfully merges the two genres together, as it does feel that the rhythmic aspects of the game are not very well implemented.
The gameplay is fairly simple but difficult to explain. You have four tiles which has a vertical line running through them from left to right. The line passes through the tiles at different speeds depending on the speed of the song, and passes through them on the beat. These tiles will fall every time the line has passed through all four, making it look very similar to Tetris. There are three different types of tile, and the aim is to connect 3-5 matching tiles (depending on the difficulty) together in order to clear them, much like in Bejewelled and other Bejewelled-inspired games. While the tiles are falling, you can click up to switch a tile with whichever tile is showing in the top left corner. The tile in the top left corner is randomly generated. You can play two different modes – either a campaign where you play through a campaign mode, which is an “endless” mode where you can choose to continue for a score penalty, or you can play through a single song, which you can even choose from your own music library as long as you work out what the bpm of your chosen song is.
The art and music are very well done, with simple retro arcade-like graphics with backgrounds that have obviously had hard work put into it. The game also has ten original songs that are fairly long, and though it isn’t really the kind of music that I would listen to, this style of electronic music perfectly fits the theme of the game and is definitely suitable for rhythm games.
The game is fairly difficult and takes a while to get into. For a while, it does feel as though whether you can clear lines or not is luck based depending on what tiles you get generated for you. While this is not entirely true, do not be surprised when you find yourself frustrated at times as a result of the tile generation. Most rhythm games are based entirely on skill and your ability to perform certain actions matching the song that is currently playing, but in this game, the generator means that you can play games really well but may still end up losing because you got unlucky. However, this is not something that is abnormal for puzzle games, and the game is fun in the same way as those puzzle games that it resembles.
You are rewarded for switching tiles on the beat of the song with score multipliers by building up your “combo” as well as increasing a “supermeter” which rewards you with a “supertile”, which explodes to clear tiles around it. The rewards you get for being on the beat is what the games uses to classify itself as a rhythm game yet it fails to be interesting like other rhythm games in this way. The game only facilitates music that has four beats per bar, otherwise it doesn’t really work properly, or staying on beat becomes awkward. Also, in regular rhythm games, music that have interesting rhythms are common and fun, this game does not support music that changes in speed. Finally, the gameplay is based entirely on bpm, meaning that two songs that have exactly the same bpm would not make the gameplay any different. As a rhythm game, this game ends up being very bland, as though building your combo helps you in many ways, sometimes breaking rhythm is necessary just to make sure you don’t fail, while in most other rhythm games the way to not fail is to not break rhythm.
Overall, I don’t think this game fails to be fun. As a puzzle game, I think it is challenging, and unlike the endless stream of Bejewelled clones, it does differentiate itself from that with more than just slapping other properties onto it or giving it different maps shapes and powerups. However, I was disappointed that it didn’t show much as a rhythm game as it’s classification as a rhythm game is what drew my interest to it in the first place. There is a lack of good rhythm games on the PC, and this game also feels as if it was designed primarily for play on mobiles and I would expect it to be better if you were to play the mobile version, where it is half the price that it is on desktop. Despite its shortcomings, I would recommend that you do try out this game, especially if you enjoy your regular, arcade-style puzzle games.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.