Radiohammer (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Nikola Suprak 05.05.2016

Review for Radiohammer on Nintendo 3DS

Handheld fans have had no shortage of rhythm games in their lives recently. Both the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita have impressive libraries stocked with rhythm titles, both big and small. Even with this influx of titles, the rhythm genre still doesn't feel saturated yet, and fans of the genre eagerly lap up each new instalment that comes their way. Even if the genre was saturated, it still feels like there would be room for Radiohammer, brought to us by Arc System Works and Vinyl Lab. For one, it's sort of a quick, bite sized rhythm game meant for newcomers to the genre. For another, this is almost guaranteed to be the only rhythm title out there that features a DJ with a hammer hitting perverts trying to flash her.

The DJs of Radiohammer are a loveable bunch of weirdos doing what they do best: rocking out and hitting every single thing they see with whatever large bludgeoning instrument they happen to be carrying. There are four separate DJs to play as, each of which has their own little story with "story" being used as loosely as possible. It usually doesn't really evolve into anything more that "perverts are in the park, hit them" or "zombie are attacking, hit them too". Why the DJs are being roped into fighting back waves of perverts isn't really quite explained, and it is really only the flimsiest of excuses to tie the various levels all together. It is a shame there isn't a bit more story here, because the few lines of dialogue are that wonderfully weird sort of insanity that can be funny at times, but with only brief snippets here or there it's hard to become particularly attached to anyone or anything.

Radiohammer is a rhythm game all about timing the hits in beat with the song. Perverts, zombies, or aliens will all run headlong either directly above or below the DJ, and the goal is to whack them in the most musically pleasing way possible. Occasionally someone will hand off a present directly behind the DJ, so there are three different things to pay attention to. Hitting baddies or nabbing the presents can all be done by utilizing the touch screen of the 3DS, with three little areas reserved for either hitting up, down, or grabbing backwards. Button pushes can accomplish this as well, but the touch screen interface works just about perfectly, so there's no reason to try and get cute with any other options. The gameplay here is fairly simple and straightforward, but it is certainly engaging enough during the early portions.

Unfortunately, things do begin to stagnate rather quickly. The entire story can be completed in only a couple of hours, but the ideas run out far before that. The basic description of the gameplay provided basically sums up all there is to the game, and there aren't any new or interesting tricks along the way. Presents occasionally are swapped out for traps which have negative effects, and at the very end of the game, fast enemies are introduced as a change of pace. These guys show up a couple of times in each level, and a little warning sign will serve as an alert that they are about to be coming. They move too fast to watch them, so it becomes important to time things out based on the warning signs. That's it, and those are all the tricks the game has, which is a shame because it makes it one of the most basic rhythm games you can find on the market. There isn't enough creativity in how the rhythm segments are implemented, and failure to include any real, substantial upgrades or changes along the way wind up making the whole experience feel a bit dull.

Screenshot for Radiohammer on Nintendo 3DS

Even the handful of ideas the game has aren't really incorporated very well. The different between enemies appearing above and enemies appearing below is only a few centimetres, which is usually fine enough to differentiate, but when enemies start coming fast it becomes chaotic. There is only a split second to see which level the warning signal appears on, and it can frequently blur together: especially when a handful of the fast moving baddies come right in a row. This is offset by another minor complaint, which is that the game is just simply too easy. There is a life bar that keeps track of the character's health, but things are very lenient. As long as a string of too many misses are avoided, it's difficult to actually lose on the levels. The challenge simply isn't here, even towards the ending levels, making the levels themselves feel somewhat routine.

Perhaps the biggest shortcoming of Radiohammer comes in the form of a very underwhelming track list. For a rhythm game, this is a huge, flashing, glowing problem that most designers can see from space, as a catchy track list is pretty much the key to any good rhythm game. There are a couple decent tracks here and there, but for the most part everything feels pretty homogenous and most of the songs sort of blend together. There are four different DJs here, each with their own style, and the styles are at least differentiable between the characters. However, most of the songs within any one grouping sound almost identical and since some songs are used more than once during the story mode, it becomes legitimately difficult at times to tell if a song has been heard before or not. There just isn't any soul to the track list here, and without even one memorable song this is a hard recommendation to even the most rabid of rhythm game fans.

Not everything is bad though. The core rhythm mechanics are fine, if simple, and there is even a second mode thrown in to mix things up. After the standard level is completed, an alternate mode is unlocked with slightly different mechanics. Here, enemies come head on at a quicker speed, simplifying the mechanics but upping the challenge. The songs themselves can also be played in free play, and there is a nice variety to the different song types between the characters. Furthermore, the challenge system the game uses is a fairly good one, and while completing the game is easy, getting three stars on all songs is more challenging. There are three songs per level, and while some will be simple like "clear the level", others require more skill like "never miss a beat" or "get a 200 hit combo". It helps with the missing difficulty, and the game does just enough that it certainly could appeal for someone looking for a streamlined, more simple approach to the rhythm genre.

Screenshot for Radiohammer on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Radiohammer is about as vanilla as a rhythm game can get, perverts and rocker zombies aside. There is a certain level of charm here, along with fun presentation and just enough weirdness to keep things interesting. But for all the weird chicken mentors, the game never really knows what to do with anything. The gameplay is too simple, the songs are too forgettable, even though the game wraps up in a couple of hours, the ideas and fun run out far before that. This isn't a bad way to kill a long car trip, and someone looking for a nice easy introduction to the rhythm genre could certainly do worse. Anyone with any real experience though is going to find this a bit dull though, and Radiohammer falls short on just about every metric that's important for a rhythm game.

Developer

Arc System Works

Publisher

Aksys

Genre

Rhythm

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

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