Publisher: Xseed Games
Available on: PlayStation Vita
Orgarhythm is an unusual game, combining elements of the rhythm genre with that of real-time strategy. The merging of rhythm games with other genres can be successful and birth games that are beloved in their own right – take a look at PSP classic Patapon for a good example of this – but the splicing of genres doesn’t always make for a harmonious combination, and Orgarhythm’s originality does little to make up for its poor execution.
STORY: Orgarhythm’s story is largely unnoticeable, mentioned only in the game’s manual – and in fact it’s almost as though it was added as an afterthought. To summarise, two brothers came to a planet as Gods, each choosing a different method of ruling their Kingdom. One brother chose to live on the surface and, with his loyal followers, made the planet green with plants and other lifeforms. But the other brother chose to live underground, his underlings draining the life energy from the planet. Orgarhythm places you in the shoes of the surface-dwelling Light God as he and his tribe march on to defeat the hordes of darkness.
GRAPHICS: Orgarhythm is not a pretty game, with muddy visuals that look worse than most PlayStation Portable games. There is little difference between your tribe of warriors and the enemy’s, and when the two armies meet the action is close to indecipherable – not good for a game that requires a lot of multi-tasking. It’s a serious problem that regularly makes the game unplayable.
The PlayStation Vita is capable of so much more. The developers could have at least tried to vary the enemy design. Most of the game is spent battling the same enemies, with only the bosses offering any difference in visuals.
SOUND: As the title suggests, Orgarhythm is focused around doing things in time to music, so the soundtrack needs to be good. Unfortunately, it’s a mixed bag, combining tribal beats with bombastic orchestral arrangements and guitar-wielding rock – but it has enough of a beat to make it easy to tap to, with different stages featuring songs of different time signatures and tempos.
However, like the graphics, certain elements of the audio can render the game unplayable. The game features a selection of grunts, groans and booms as your tribe fight their enemies. Unfortunately these sound effects are distracting enough to make trying to keep in time with the rhythm a very tough endeavour indeed.
GAMEPLAY: You take the role of the Light God as he marches through the game’s 12 levels. You have no direct control of your protagonist; instead, you order your tribe members to attack by tapping one of three elements (choosing Earth, Water or Fire, each one effective against a particular colour of enemy), then choosing what class you want to assign to them (melee, archers, catapults or ‘sacrifice’) before dragging a line on the screen to assign a target. The longer you drag a line, the more members of your tribe are assigned to that task.
It’s a simple system that works pretty well, but the big twist is that the game encourages you to perform all your menu selections by tapping them in time to the backing music. Correctly tapping in time will power up your army, allowing for a larger tribe and greater attacking power. Continual correct taps also build up a Combo meter that improves your ranking on that level.
This all sounds great until the game actually starts. Put simply, your character moves as fast as a battery-powered tricycle, with so much time in-between enemies that it’s actually boring to sit through. The battles are just too few and too far between, and when you do finally get to fight something, the aforementioned graphical and sound distractions make for a generally uninspiring experience.
At the end of each stage, a boss fight takes place and it’s the closest to exciting the game gets – but even then it’s simply more repetitious tapping.
LONGEVITY: With only 12 levels, you can expect to finish the Campaign in a couple of hours. Multiple difficulty settings are available, as are unlockable perks and rankings, but after only a few levels, you’ll have seen everything the game has to offer; only trophy-hunters will garner any longevity from this game. Orgarhythm does offer Co-Op and Versus modes, however these are Ad-Hoc only with no online modes whatsoever.
VERDICT: With such an interesting blending of genres, on paper Orgarhythm sounds like it could have been a cult favourite at the very least. In practice, confusing visuals, obstructive sound effects and a horrifically slow pace make for a deeply unsatisfying and disappointing game. If you’re after a quality rhythm game, you’re better off downloading the PSP’s Patapon for your Vita.