The strategy genre does not often mix with the rhythm genre because they simply don’t have that much in common. It can be hard to mesh the inherent timing of rhythm games with the deep thought often involved in strategy titles and vice versa. The recently released Orgarhythm gives us this mix with gusto and delivers a Vita title that will appeal to both rhythm fans and strategy fans alike.
What I Liked
I was not a huge fan of the idea of Orgarhythm going in. A rhythm and strategy game mixed? That sounded blasphemous to me! Luckily I quickly grew to appreciate the concept and eventually came to really love it. Touching the screen to the beat of the music as a god in on-rails levels allows you to send your troops into battle. The ease of this allows you to have an abundance of soldiers to command at any time, making the short levels challenging but always fun and interesting. You aren’t ever left without commands to input on the touch screen, which gives rhythm fans a better entry point into the strategy genre than most games.
While Orgarhythm is definitely a strategy/rhythm game, there are also some light RPG elements that really add to the experience. While tapping away to move your troops around, you can get bad, good, or excellent ratings based on how closely you tap with the beat. If you can tap along well enough to get all ‘Excellents’, you will find your troops leveling up and growing in number. This leads to stronger attacks and is very satisfying to pull off. On top of this, your god has buffs and special attacks of his own that can be pulled off adding even more to the RPG elements of the game.
Again, although this game is certainly a strategy/rhythm game at the core with some light RPG elements, there are actually some action-oriented tendencies that Orgarhythm has as well. While playing each level you are given much less of a view of the map than most strategy games. Indeed, you are given a view more accustomed to action games. This leads to some very intense encounters because you have to deal with enemies as you come upon them on the battlefield. I found this to be a refreshing way to play a strategy game although I always itched for a traditional view option.
What I Didn’t Like
Basic Rock, Paper, Scissors Combat
While touching the screen to the beat of the music is tonnes of fun (as long as you have a cover for your screen), the combat never really gets true depth. It does add new elements for the first several levels, such as the ability to use bows to hit enemies on ledges, but after that you are mainly in a battle of rock, paper, scissors. You need to send red troops to fight yellow troops, or blue to fight red, or yellow to fight blue. This is as deep as the combat gets, which is probably due to the difficult nature of having to balance the rhythm and the strategy elements.
One major downside to picking up Orgarhythm is the short campaign. When playing on Normal difficulty the campaign will maybe last you six hours, and that’s if you take your time and fail a couple of missions like I did. For $30 this isn’t a terrible purchase, but there are a lot of good games for this price that can last you much longer than six hours. If you are a big fan of the genre though, this is still a very good match for you.
Similar To: Patapon
Patapon was a really interesting strategy/rhythm game for the PSP that delivered a delightful visual presentation with some good gameplay to back it up. Orgarhythm does not quite come out on equal grounds with Patapon, but it does deliver a similar experience, albeit in 3D environments. Fans of Patapon should definitely give Orgarhythm a try if they are itching for a similar experience.
While Orgarhythm has its fair share of problems, the game shined through and delivered an experience that I certainly enjoyed. Normal difficulty will probably only last you around six hours tops, though I highly recommend trying the game on a harder difficulty. It allows the missions to be much more intense and rewarding as a result. Orgarhythm will not be for everyone, but for those that give the oddball idea a chance, they will find a game that tries new things with established ideas.
Orgarhythm was reviewed with a copy provided by the publisher.