Radiohammer Review (3DS)on February 17, 2016 by Oscar TK
Radiohammer isn’t the first rhythm game on Nintendo 3DS, and it also likely won’t be the last. Radiohammer is also available as a phone game as well as a downloaded eShop game, but it’s worth paying out for this more featured 3DS version.
Radiohammer is a rhythm game with quite a lot of personality and style, evoking the funky freshness of other titles like Jet Set Radio or Splatoon. The story covers four characters, all with their own style, both in dress, backgrounds, and music. The music is pretty cool, but in the end a lot of them kind of blend together. They’re cool enough tracks to listen to when playing the game, but not quite good enough to really want to put onto your audio player, or to play again for the song alone.
Each story is entirely seperate to one another, though they revolve around DJs and their managers who work for the pirate radio station Radiohammer. It’s their duty to protect people from danger on the streets, and each stories sees one of the four taking on a different foe. One has to deal with perverts at the park, another hordes of zombies. Unfortunately the fourth character is labelled as just a bonus, and as such only has one stage and a boss, compared to the fifteen or so levels of the other characters, which cut things short a little bit.
With that said, the amount of levels is sometimes a bit much, and the length very variable. The early stages of a sequence will often involve just a single short song, but the later stages see you playing through several. Three stars are up for grabs in every level, one for simply beating it, and a further two for fulfilling certain conditions — no misses, for instance, a certain combo minimum, missing no presents, that sort of thing. All of them can be obtained by simply being really good, though they can help you know where to focus your efforts if you’re just going for those leftover stars.
The gameplay is pretty simple stuff. There are two lines in front of your character, and you need to time it so they use their big hammer to hit the enemies that come at them from either row. Each row can be pressed either by tapping the on screen button (not located on the screen the gameplay is on), but using D-pad up and down, or with the X and B buttons (my preferred method). In addition, presents are given out on beats, either touch screen, left D-pad, or Y button, though these can be traps. It’s simple but effective, and enough care has gone into the gameplay to make it feel really good. The timing doesn’t feel whack (though the danger icon enemies introduced late game take some getting used to), and most impressively the sound design on the impact hits is absolutely brilliant. Using sound alone they make the Perfect hits feel wonderful, and the less good hits feel progressively worse. It works incredibly well.
But, with the amount of stages, and the overlong length of some of them, it does begin to drag in places. The characters don’t really have much variety, and you’re mainly just doing the same thing over and over again. Maybe if the music selection was broader it would ease some of those issues. The bosses are the true highlight of the game, large, unique, and bizarre enemies who hit you with a tense barrage of their own unique musical icons — projectiles your character hits back at them. If there were more unique stages like these the game would feel much less repetitive. All in all there are only four of them.
Each time you clear a stage you unlock “Another Mode” to play the song, which gives you just one track, and faster incoming enemies. This is actually the mode that the phone version of the game uses. It’s an interesting gameplay change, making it harder in some respects as the beats come faster along the track, but easier in others as it’s just one track. That’s probably why it’s called “Another” and not “Hard” or something. It seems like Another Mode over-simplifies the game though, and doesn’t feel nearly as satisfying or fun as the 3DS’ standard 2-track play.
There is price discrepancy between the phone version and the 3DS version — £1.49 vs £3.49 — but for the better, more solid gameplay experience it seems worth it. It’s not much to spend to take a chance on Radiohammer, and it will entertain you for the duration, even though the extra replay modes might not hold your attention, and it doesn’t quite make the most of its more unique points. In the end, though, this is definitely one of the better simple rhythm games we’ve seen in a while.