SUPERBEAT: XONiC is a rhythm game. A genre that saw a massive boom from the release of the rock juggernaut Guitar Hero that saw imitators try to get in on the act. Rock Band made their attempt at the rhythm throne by adding in an entire bloody band, but eventually the market was totally saturated and most people just got fed up of holding a plastic guitar and still trying to beat Through the Fire and Flames by those guys who really like dragons. Dragonforce I believe was their name. These two titles might be what springs to mind when someone thinks of rhythm titles (or perhaps Dance Dance Revolution), but the genre has been around for a while with titles like PaRappa the Rapper being quite influential and now fast forwarding a few years the genre might not be as big as it was, but it still has a loyal fanbase and some awesome titles like Persona 4: Dancing All Night, but enough history it is time to have a look at SUPERBEAT: XONiC EX a port that is now seeing a release on the Switch.
SUPERBEAT: XONiC EX boasts a massive selection of tracks by offering over 60 unique tracks and the Switch version gets the 7 DLC tracks for free, which is a nice little bonus. The modes of play are World Tour, Stage and Free Style. World Tour has you playing sets whilst attempting to meet certain requirements like getting a 500+ combo or playing a totally perfect track once you beat a mission you’ll get a little reward like a new DJ or Key Sound. Stage gives the player the choice of picking from 4 TRAX (Beginner), 6 TRAX and 6 TRAX FX (Expert). 4 TRAX has less methods of input whereas 6TRAX FX features all available ones making it a bit frantic. Once the player has picked there preferred skill level they then play a set of 3 tracks. Once beaten the tracks you beat will be added to Free Style and it’s then up to you to go again and try beat those scores and get some more exp to level up and unlock more songs, DJ’s and Key Sounds. It’s simple, but what rhythm game is not?
For any rhythm title it is safe to say that the music is the most important part and with such a large selection of tracks to choose from it is safe to say that the game has quantity covered. In regard to quality it manages to set the bar pretty high and offer a wide range of genres and there is bound to be something you’ll like. K-Pop, Metal, House, Dubstep, a genre that I had never heard of before Gypsy Jazz Tech and much more. You will inevitably love some tracks, but of course loathe others, but that is to be expected.
The difficulty put forward by the song selection is excellent. With a wide range of tracks to pick from that offer a easy play through, to some that will start to challenge you as you frantically try to keep up with the assualt of commands being thrown at you, to the downright impossible tracks towards the end that will leave you asking the question: Is it even possible for one born of man and woman to complete such a challenge? Veterans of the genre will certainly find a nice challenge here and newcomers will be able to take it easy and play the game at a pace they can keep up with. You also have the option to tweak the speed the notes appear on screen, whether or not they fade in (Appear later) or fade out and some other little options that will help people practice or add yet another layer of challenge for those who like to make things really difficult. Finally you can then set which DJ you use which will offer bonuses as you play varying from a shield to protect you from losing your combo to extra exp from completing a track.
One of the best things about SUPERBEAT: XONiC EX is that it can be perfect to play for a quick burst of time. My experience with it in handheld mode for the most part was fine, the speakers aren’t great, but I’d assume most people playing it on the bus will be using headphones the only real issue was that the size of the system made it quite tricky to play on some of the incredibly intense songs. It isn’t noticeable on lower difficulties and I must stress this was only an issue on 6TRAX FX and the highest difficulty rating songs.
Finally SUPERBEAT XONiC: EX gives players the opportunity to check their stats with players around the world and see their ranking in 4TRAX, 6TRAX, 6TRAX FX, Free Style and World Tour. It’s a nice little feature and for those who want to aim for the top it’d be worth noting that you get more points if you set the game to hard mode. This doesn’t make the actual tracks harder, but it does make you lose health faster. Incredibly fast actually. So far I am proud with my rank 3 in 6TRAX FX, but I suppose that is due to the game not being released yet.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Superbeat Xonic EX was provided by PM Stuldios.