In Orgarhythm you play as the God of Light who rules over creation while your older brother the God of Darkness rules over destruction. Both Gods command loyal followers and while your followers create your brothers consume. It turns out the planet can’t support both Gods and their tribes so you must do battle.
The gameplay is an unusual mix of rhythm, action and strategy from the mind of Takashi Hirai (Space Channel 5, Rez). The God of Light marches through each stage of the game in a predefined path. Following alongside him are three groups of warriors which form your Light Tribe and they are linked with the elements. These warriors are yellow (earth), red (fire) and blue (water).
The elements are related to each other in a rock-paper-scissors setup so red beats yellow, yellow beats blue and blue beats red. You enemies in the Dark Tribe also follow this pattern so it’s important you understand this relationship when deploying your warriors against them. This is the strategy part of the game.
The rhythm part is how you issue commands to your warriors. You do this by tapping in time to the beat of the music. To start you must tap the God of Light, then you must tap the colour of the warriors you want to command and a final tap to select their attack ability. The game calls this the tri-tap and you must time your taps perfectly to the beat for best results. Your taps are scored as excellent, good and bad depending on how close to the beat you were.
When you hit a tri-tap perfectly your warriors level up and this can happen up to five times. Hitting the taps takes practice but when you get in the zone and start landing them correctly it’s immensely satisfying. The music is excellent and builds in complexity each time your warriors level up. We highly recommend playing the game with headphones as this helps you really connect with the beat.
Successful tri-taps also build the God of Lights support ability. Once you have enough support this lets you activate one of five abilities which can do things like boost your warriors attack and defence, heal them or slow and damage enemies.
While the music is fantastic the graphics do let the game down slightly. The animations aren’t great and everything is quite hard to see when there is a lot going on. After a tri-tap the final action to perform is to drag a line on the screen. This line shows your selected warriors where to form up before they attack. They will follow the shape of the line you drag and the length determines how many warriors you have requested.
When you miss a beat the warriors return back to level 1 so it’s really important to take your time and not rush before tapping. Although taking too long also resets their level. To maintain their level you need to constantly tri-tap which can be annoying when there is nothing on the screen to attack. Sometimes you also need to recall all of your warriors at once which can be done by tapping the rear touch pad four times.
As you move through the different stages you will encounter a variety of enemies to defeat. However the end of stage boss battles are definitely the most fun and challenging part of the game. For the boss encounters you need to really work out the best strategy to take them down. If your God of Light runs out of health or you lose all your warriors it’s game over and you must begin the stage from the start which can be annoying.
Once you’re done with the 12 stage single player campaign there are two more difficulties to take on. The game can also be played in co-op or versus mode via ad-hoc wireless play.
Orgarhythm is certainly a unique game and may satisfy players looking for a new experience. However once the novelty wears off the game becomes very repetitive. If you enjoy either genre then consider giving the game a try but be warned the blend of strategy and rhythm is definitely not for everyone.