Superbeat: Xonic (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 17.12.2017 8

Review for Superbeat: Xonic on Nintendo Switch

Superbeat: Xonic found a great little home on PS Vita. That crystal clear display with its smooth touch controls and the excellent D-pad that is still one of the best ever made meant the two play styles were just as good as each other, offering rhythm maniacs a choice in how to experience the sweet variety of tunes crammed in. PS4 and Xbox One versions have since followed, but with the Switch, PM Studios' finger tapper could find a new perfect place to live.

There is one immediate problem that this edition of Superbeat: Xonic faces, and that is the asymmetrical design of the Switch controls. Whether using the Pro Controller or the Joy-Con, both thumbs will always be out of line of one another. Anyone that has played extensively on the PS Vita version will understand the issues this throws up, particularly when notes that fly onto the screen require using the control sticks to either flick into a direction or smoothly push them to follow wavy lines, as one thumb is reaching up to the left stick, whilst the other is reaching down to the right stick.

Screenshot for Superbeat: Xonic on Nintendo Switch

Muscle memory means this can be a really tough issue to overcome without continuous repeat play to try and erase the habit of reaching down for both sticks out of existence. This is not a fault of the game itself, but just something that players must deal with, especially if having played this before on Vita. With enough time and practice, though, the asymmetrical design can be gotten used to - and when it does, let the intense rhythm mayhem commence!

For newbies, the tutorial could have done with some rethinking, because whilst it explains everything just fine, it does ask the player to copy the demonstrational inputs being shown. First time around, though, you are still figuring out which button does what and exactly when to press them. There is no confirmation that you performed the notes correctly, and the tutorial just skips along to the next instruction before you even realise what you did. Going back in for a second go - and maybe even a third, if required - can be enough to get a hold of how this game is going to play out during stages, but tutorials that ask users to demonstrate they have understood what they have been shown should be giving feedback to confirm that.

Screenshot for Superbeat: Xonic on Nintendo Switch

Sometimes it's better to just dive right into a song, though, and learn by playing. Similar to the DJMax titles that some of PM Studios' members worked on previously, Superbeat: Xonic is a mega tough rhythm game that the hardest of hardcore fans will love. Best stretch those fingers out before attempting some of these banging tunes, because you may as well not even bother otherwise! In a show of respect to people of all skill levels, however, PM Studios has included some great levels of customisation for difficulty, allowing players to fully adjust just how quickly and frequently notes will appear in any given song.

Unlockable DJs that just act as profile images on the visual end of things can also help, such as allowing a few notes to be messed up without dropping the combo. There are tons of these to unlock, with a little experience-based progression system in place that doesn't really count for much other than to unlock some World Tour missions with various goals to achieve when playing songs, driving a little extra incentive to return.

Screenshot for Superbeat: Xonic on Nintendo Switch

The leaderboards are a good reason to come back, but it is the pure addictive quality of the tunes on offer that are the real appeal of Superbeat: Xonic. From soul to metal, and house to RnB, there's something for everyone here, as well as a bunch of free download content for Switch owners.

Since this uses a rather unorthodox button style compared to most other rhythm games, the fact touch screen controls exist provides huge relief. The PS Vita screen may have been just a tad too small, but by removing the Joy-Con on either side and holding the Switch like a tablet, a perfect new playstyle comes into existence, and is surprisingly comfortable. What's the catch, then? Sadly, as of this moment, there is definitely a problem with the touch controls in terms of sensitivity, as drag and flick notes can drop immediately or at any given moment. PM Studios has announced they are looking into the matter and will get a patch out soon that addresses this. If it can get fully fixed, the touch controls could be the best way to play on Switch, especially since the asymmetrical design of the system makes it difficult for many to get used to in button mode.

Screenshot for Superbeat: Xonic on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

An extremely challenging rhythm game that fans of DJMax will adore. It is no fault of Superbeat: Xonic itself, but the asymmetrical design of the Switch controls means this can take some getting used to, particularly if having played extensively on PS Vita or elsewhere, but being able to play in tablet style with touch controls and the Joy-Con removed eradicates that entirely. The only problem at time of writing is that the touch controls seem bugged. A patch is on the way, which will hopefully mean Xonic will be an essential purchase for Switch rhythm fans.

Developer

Nurijoy

Publisher

PM Studios

Genre

Rhythm

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Would you recommend this over VOEZ?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

If you prefer a more extreme rhythm game, probably. I do like a lot of the music in VOEZ, so might come down to tastes.

This is more extreme than VOEZ? Wow, I saw a video of you playing VOEZ and that looked HARD! How about how this compares to the Hatsune Miku series? You're the rhythm expert on C3, I'd say Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Well, they are both tough, and they both have difficulty sliders to tune things to your skill, but overall, Superbeat is more hardcore, I would say. The button controls are pretty tough to adapt to without a bit of practice, whereas Voez is pretty simple to grasp from the beginning. I still prefer the Miku games - a more simpler button playstyle, but super addictive and tough to master. Again tho, the music plays a part in my preference - I do like a lot of the Vocaloid tunes (and Miku is cute).

John H (guest) 18.12.2017#5

Touch bugs will be fixed
https://twitter.com/PMStudiosUSA/status/941745829651546113

Yup, mentioned that. Hopefully it does fix them, as the first patch didn't.

Hopefully this is only the first PM Studios game on Switch, as well. Would love to see how DJ MAX translates. I know in the past PM wanted to support Nintendo formats, but sadly it just never transpired.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

You really need to go to a Japanese arcade and watch them play their rhythm games! You'll be in heaven mate!

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