Review: ‘Superbeat: XONiC’ translates pretty well on the PS4; still fun and energetic
‘XONiC’ has a nice combo of challenging play and trippy fun.
Platform: PS Vita, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Originally released on the PS Vita in 2015, ‘Superbeat: XONiC’ is a fast-paced rhythm game which boasts a charming aesthetic and a song library of 65 tracks with a wide range of genres. Having found success on the Vita, the port to the PlayStation 4 was all but imminent. With the market mostly cornered by the recognizable likes of games like ‘Guitar Hero’, ‘Dance Dance Revolution’, and ‘Just Dance’, it seems some new blood might be necessary. ‘Superbeat: Xonic’ could have the chops to fit the bill.
The game features a very eclectic song selection, so your playlist never gets too dull.
When it comes to the song library at your disposal, your cup runneth over! The many different songs featured range from your typical J-Pop anthems you might find in a game like this to even some grunge style songs that manage to fill out the playable archive nicely. You might be new to a lot of what you’ll hear on this game’s playlist, but the choices you have make the gameplay as fun as it is stimulating.
The lack of familiarity also has a hand in making the game that much more of a gauntlet throw, especially in the “World Tour” mode. World Tour is essentially a series of side games and challenges designed to test your skills thus far. Many of them involve stacking combos or playing at higher speeds. Despite how commonplace the songs might feel after taking the time to get to know the game, these stages make the experience so much more rewarding once you’ve mastered the trials with the increase in difficulty.
The stage design and controls can be counterintuitive, so expect a learning curve.
Most games of this caliber feature some kind of external accessory to help you hit the appropriate beats, like a guitar or turntable controller, motion camera, etc. This time around, you’re armed with nothing more than your typical controller. For this reason alone, there is a bit of a learning curve with the gameplay.
There is an interesting layout for each stage featuring large curvatures on either side of the screen with your notes coming towards you from the center. The designated spaces on the curves are assigned to the buttons on the controller. Here’s where it gets tricky: the buttons and the analog sticks correspond to different types of notes. While it puts you in a different kind of headspace just to keep up, switching on a dime between hitting beats with the buttons on both sides of the controller and the analogs can be nerve-racking if you’re not willing to take the time to become accustomed to it. Once you’ve mastered this type of layout, it’s all the more rewarding.
‘Superbeat: XONiC’ in a nutshell is an odd name for an addicting game. While games like this aren’t necessarily few and far between, this one in particular stands on its own merit. It’s inexpensive, requires no additional accessories, and manages to give you the same unequivocal sense of fast-paced fun you might get from other music and rhythm games. If you’re in the market for a small game with big potential, the challenging gameplay coupled with the energizing music library make this one you don’t want to overlook.