Orgarhythm is unique in that it combines the best of both niche worlds in the video game universe for a tasty concoction: rhythm and real-time strategy. True, we saw this with games like Patapon, but Orgarhythm (from Acquire, teaming up with XSEED Games) takes things a step further. PS Vita players get to marching to the beat with this wonderfully complex, quirky downloadable title that hits all the right notes.
You step into the shoes of a lone god in command of a colorful army (reminiscent of Pikmin) who must traverse the verdant greenery of the in-game world. You and your troops keep in step throughout the sprawling world on a mission to get from point A to point B – all in one piece, of course – using only the Vita’s touch screen. It might feel strange, and more like the game belongs on an iOS device or one of the many smartphones out there. Orgarhythm does not require usage of the Vita’s face buttons at all and as a result things actually move a little quicker.
As your troops march across the landscape, enemies continually advance in three colors, which will correspond to your different troops. Blue, red, and yellow match troops and enemies, with a rock-paper-scissors power triangle for checks and balances. Blue beats out red, yellow can deck blue, and red comes out on top with yellow. No matter which color troop you use, each is equipped with hand to hand prowess or proficiency with ranged, melee, or siege weapons. With the checks and balances system in place as well as the constant need to stay on your toes when it comes to creating balanced advantages, you’ll need to counterattack and take note when troops attack in order to avoid a swift and painful death. Thankfully, as the benevolent god controlling the troops you’ve got some powers at your disposal as well – you can heal your troops, buff them, and even aid in attacking oncoming threats. So you’re able to chip in, even if only minimally.
So how does rhythm come into play? The way you move your troops corresponds to the beat. You tap the icon color that corresponds to the correct troops, swipe, and angle your men to the target area. Depending on how close to the beat you manage to get, you’ll be scored with bad, good, or excellent. The better your rating, the more your troops will grow. If you aren’t keeping in step with the beat and continually hit “bad” ratings, your troops’ abilities and numbers will dwindle. It’s prudent to always play along with the music, as your success is directly related to it. Boss fights and even smaller skirmishes all rely on this very same strategy. It can certainly be difficult, but there’s a satisfying challenge to it all that keeps you coming back.
The soundtrack is brilliant, too. There’s a decent blend of electronica and more heavy tunes to play around with – a great backing of solid music is key, so I’m thankful that isn’t an area Orgarhythm dropped the ball on. Where that unfortunate distinction falls is in the fact that quite often you’ll feel as though you’re performing the same actions over and over. It’s best to take it all in bite-sized chunks for that reason.
Orgarhythm is a decadent slice of RTS/rhythm based gaming joy, and unique in that we haven’t seen many (if any) similar endeavors over the years. The beats are just catchy enough for good marching atmosphere, touch controls are blissfully precise, and it feels good in short bursts. It’s a PS Vita title you should definitely try out if you’re a fan of either genre. March on!
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