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E3 2012: The Beat-Based Battles of Orgarhythm

By
Posted on June 6, 2012 AT 12:09am

Sounding the drums of war

If Pikmin and Patapon had a baby, it might resemble Orgarhythm. Started as a project to release something unique soon after the Vita’s launch, the game gives players command over three types of armies—filled with soldiers who follow your orders to the beat of the music. Players have to be quick at tapping and keen on rhythm—but you’ll also need quick wits and a sense of strategy to go along with that soul.

The Two Words of Destiny

Orgarhythm started with two simple words: “Rhythm” and “Strategy”. The team at Aquire knew they wanted to make a game based around those concepts, but admits they had no idea where to go with it. So, they enlisted the help of Tak Hirai, a Japanese producer who has worked on games such as Space Channel No. 5, Rez, Lumines, and Meteos. From there, those two seeds were used to grow the world of Orgarhythm.

Doing Something Different

“Music games always have icons scrolling down the screen,” said creative director Richie Casper. “We wanted a different type of gameplay.” And different you get: Commands must be issued to the beat, but at which point during the music you give them is completely up to you. Tap icons on every other beat, and gameplay is easier—but it takes longer to issue commands. Hit on every beat, and the challenge is ramped up—but you can get far more done faster.

Tradition With A Twist

The strategy of Orgarhythm may feel familiar: Three element—water, fire, and earth—each of which cancels out another, and then three attack types good against a specific class of enemy. It’s when that gameplay gets paired up with the rhythm aspects that things get interesting. At first, even the easiest stages can feel overwhelming. Get into the groove, however, and the rhythm-based strategy feels second nature.

The Karaoke Connection

Most music/rhythm games are based around the idea of perfecting your skills, and the accomplishment that will come from that—a higher score. One of the core concepts of Orgarhyhm is that pursuit of points, which Hirai says is the key the the popularity of the music genre. “In music games, you get results very quickly—players like that instant feedback of knowing if they did well, if they kicked ass, or if they screwed up. It’s like karaoke in Japan, where you sing to try to get the highest score.”

Indie Revolution

If the game’s included soundtrack of 24 songs isn’t enough, Casper told me that they’re looking to the community to help boost the soundtrack. Acquire will be taking submissions for songs to be added to Orgarhythm—they’re hoping to hit around 100 additional tracks. Even better? Any indie music that comes along as DLC will be released for free.

Orgarhythm was created to give Vita owners something new and different. Do you enjoy seeing unique twists on games such as these?

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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