There has been a lot of genre-blending going on in this generation and for the most part, the results have been great (with a few minor exceptions). Looking back on so many discussions and arguments concerning originality and innovation in this industry, we’ve started to realize that uniqueness can simply involve the mixing of two or more previously separate genres. Do it properly, and you can get something both mesmerizing and highly original.
So maybe developer Acquire can do exactly that with the upcoming Vita title, Orgarhythm. The game somehow manages to bring elements of the music/rhythm and real-time strategy categories together, which isn’t entirely unique. PSP fans will likely remember the excellent Patapon franchise, which had you issuing commands to the beat; i.e., command at the right moment, with the rhythm in your head, and the results are better. That’s similar to the structure of Orgarhythm but as you might expect, there are a few interesting twists…
Basically, you just assign commands to your allies, who are out to protect you God of Light avatar, which – for some inexplicable reason – is perpetually dancing. You will utilize the Vita’s touchscreen feature to execute the chosen commands, and you can also position your units via the touchscreen as well. For all you RTS buffs, you’ll be happy to know that unlike Patapon, we’ll be viewing the action from the traditional top-down perspective. Evidently, though, according to the GameSpot preview, we won’t have the same level of intricacy, complexity and micromanagement we typically associate with strategy productions.
But that doesn’t mean the game won’t have some depth and besides, the implementation of the music aspect is a big part of the gameplay. Your units will have elemental attributes, there are different types of units (melee troops, archers, catapults, etc.), and other RPG-like parts exist, but I’m most interested to try matching commands with the beat. Following the rhythm correctly will buff up your units and you’ll even have the benefit of a rhythm wave that pulses in the center of the screen. This gets bigger when you perform well, so you have an idea of how you’re doing.
Obviously, later levels will feature faster and more complicated music, so you’ll have to think quickly and efficiently. Not only do you have to determine the appropriate commands on a routine basis, you also have to order your troops about with rhythmic precision, and that’s gonna take some practice. Your God of Light will help, too, as he can cast spells; once his gauge is maxed, he can really call down the thunder. For the most part, though, this will fall on you. Do you have the proper combination of rhythm and strategic thinking?
9/3/2012 Ben Dutka