Harmonix’s new rhythm game offers freedom, music and corgis
It is a long time since a rhythm music game has really draws attention. The genre was everywhere in the mid-2000s, with games like Guitar Hero and Rock band popping up everywhere, from bars to rehabilitation clinics to an episode of South Park. But while these games have fizzled out over the past decade, Harmonix has never really gone away. In addition to always supporting the 2015 Rock group 4 With new DLC songs, the developer continued to release new musical rhythm games, experimenting with VR, dance and turntables throughout the 2010s. His next game, Fuser unit, learns from the past successes of Harmonix and brings the genre into the 2020s.
The notion of Fuser unit will be familiar to those who remember the game Harmonix 2017, DropMix. Also a DJ game, DropMix used a special card that reads cards equipped with NFC to play and combine music samples. An interesting concept that incorporated the lifelong 2010s toy craze, the addiction of the game to a physical board with high entry cost and collectible cards kept it from really taking off.
Fuser unit eliminates one of the most charming yet frustrating things most people associate with Harmonix games: the bulky peripheral that you would need to find room for or take out of storage every time you wanted to come back into the game. only this is a welcome and inviting change, but it also corresponds to Fuser unitthe goal of. You don’t need a plastic recreation of a guitar, board, or turntable to play a recreation of someone else’s music; with Fuser unit, you are creating something that is unique to you.
Fuser unit is a game that embraces creativity and personalization on all levels. At launch, the game will feature over 100 songs, of which around 30 have already been announced. These include flashbacks like “Rock the Casbah” by The Clash and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult”, as well as contemporary hits like “bad guy” by Billie Eilish and “Good as Hell ”by Lizzo.
The songs cover a wide range of genres, from country to R&B to pop, which can be combined in surprising and exhilarating ways. While some combinations sound better than others, and it takes a bit of practice to create something that sounds as good as what you’ll hear in the trailers, there is nothing more satisfying than putting on two songs that should not go together in your mix and find that the combination works inexplicably. Some tracks, like the strings of “Call Me Maybe”, the keyboard of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” and the rhythm of “Bodak Yellow” sound great with almost anything, even when combined with the vocals from “All Star” by Smash Mouth. The number of “Old Town Road” remixes that exploded last year makes so much more sense after playing with Fuser unit and find out just how versatile this song really is.
In addition to combining licensed tracks, players can also play with instruments by interacting with a grid to play different sounds. These can also be looped and added to your mix. It sounds pretty good even if you’re just playing around with the controller to see what works, but skilled players who have practiced or have a solid grasp of music theory will certainly be able to create awesome loops and solos with it.
While all of these options seem daunting, the in-game campaign acts as a tutorial, introducing new mechanics and increasing the difficulty and volume of challenges as you level up. While there is something of a narrative with NPCs to meet and learn, the developers said the game does not tell a “rise to fame” story. It’s just about being a DJ and performing on a variety of stages.
You’ll start by creating a mix one track at a time, changing things before they get stale, and achieving different goals, like playing the vocals of a country song or having at least two R&B tracks for a while. These will challenge players to change and delete tracks at the right time without overwhelming the crowd with a new song every beat. These levels, at least in the demo, can be punitive, because if you fail you will have to go back and redo everything. This includes learning the basic skills of the level. Either way, the campaign will help you learn the different mechanics you’ll want to use in your mixes. There’s also the Freestyle Mode, which allows players to hone their skills and experiment without the pressure of a crowd to impress.
Music isn’t the only place players can get creative, as they’ll be able to customize their character and scenes as well. There are tons of options here, with more to unlock as you go. Theses allow gamers to create a DJ that truly represents them regardless of race, body type, and gender identity, even offering skin color options for gamers with vitiligo. None of the options are gender related, so you are free to combine masculine facial features with feminine hairstyles and one of the different clothing options, which come in solid colors and strong patterns.
Much of the culture of the festival is the celebration of self-expression and individuality, and Fuser unit embrace that. Also note the fact that the default avatar (at least in this demo) is a black female, and darker skin tones come before lighter ones in the menu. It’s a subtle but welcome way to highlight the massive contributions of black artists to DJ culture.
While during the game you will be more focused on the crowd and your mix to focus more on yourself, you can choose from different personalities to affect the way your character acts during the performances. These styles, like joy, originality, and energy, match those of your campaign mentors, so you’ll likely unlock more of them by working with different characters.
When it comes to the stages, there are a lot of things you can play around with to create an epic location for your performance. Not only can you customize effects, pyrotechnics, and time of day, but you can also choose holograms and crowd items. For example, you might want to give the crowd glow sticks for a nighttime performance and signs during the day. Much like the character options, there is a lot to customize and unlock here. You can create any decor you like, whether it’s a traditional, cool scene with dancers and fireworks, or a colorful, whimsical scene full of cupcakes and corgis.
This demo is just the start of Fuser unit. There are still dozens of songs to announce, and Harmonix has said there are plans to support the game with DLC tracks and customizations as long as there is a demand for more content. The developers also teased the multiplayer modes, which will be introduced later this summer. While no details have been announced yet, Harmonix says there will be competitive and collaborative modes that allow players to test their skills against others and work together on mixes.
With so many options available, it will be interesting to see what players can put together once in terms of music and visuals. Fuser unit spear. Game customization provides players with unique opportunities to create brilliant, extravagant, Coachella-like performances, as well as weird, meme-worthy combinations of colorful and sweet stages and weird, minor mash-ups. It may also scratch that itch for music festival attendees saddened by the fact that these types of huge and lively events that are the highlights of the summer are on hold for the time being.
Developed by Harmonix and published by NCSoft, Fuser will be released on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in 2020.
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