TRRT. What the hell is that? The black square with the acronym plastered across the centre makes me wonder if my Switch has been hacked but when booting it up, realise that it is Terrorhythm (TRRT) – a game purchased in a sale a couple of months ago.
There was every reason to buy Terrorhythm (TRRT): it was on sale, it looked good, and it was on sale. Sometimes quantity isn’t everything and having hundreds of Switch games means that it is impossible to get through them all. However, Terrorhythm (TRRT), from Forever Entertainment, caught my eye with the sharp imagery and the likelihood that this rhythm game wouldn’t dictate too much of my supposedly valuable time, I decided to have a stab at it, now I’ve remembered it after all those weeks.
Correct: Terrorhythm (TRRT) is a rhythm game in the style of One Finger Death Punch, only much more of a visual treat. It like the classic arcade game, Kung-Fu Master, though your character stands on the spot for the duration of the game and your role is to hit the buttons in time with the beat, fending off your would-be oppressors.
Terrorhythm (TRRT) Is A Dancer
Like Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda (I’m not typing that again), your attacks are initiated through the flow of an electronica track that is played in the background. In reality, the song is the focal point, so deeming it as background music is an understatement. However, instead of pressing the buttons in time with an onscreen prompt, you continually have to press a button to keep the pace and multiplier going. Miss a beat or get hit by an adversary and your combo is reset.
What’s it all about? There is a story there and rather than regurgitate it or make Terrorhythm (TRRT) seem anything else that it isn’t, here is the official synopsis from the Nintendo store:
In the middle of 25th century the world has plunged into the totalitarian system of sound isolation that made the world absolute muted. In the world where the silence is the only anthem, you should break the law to bring back the sound and the music to humanity.
But while there are those who still remember the melody of the former life, hope remains. We are here to defy terror. Follow the rhythm to defeat the security systems that keep any sound from the society. Fight to the music, fight for the music!
Some have termed this a cyberpunk vehicle, but other than being set in the future, it lacks the depth of a typical cyberpunk theme. It doesn’t need any extra layers though – this is a rhythm game, and the future setting and totalitarian system serve the purpose. If there was scope for a tale of corruption and interaction with the armies that you fight, then sure – add some more to it. But no, the basic commands of L and R buttons to attack the waves to the left and right respectively are sufficient for overcoming these evil powers and promoting the world of music.
Hit Me With Your Rhythm (Analogue) Stick
Pressing L and R to a consistent rhythm seems a little monotonous, and to some extent, it is. However, throw in a few power-ups here and there, combos and extending your range of attack add a bit more variety to the game. For the latter move, you press X in time with the beat to extend the distance between yourself and your enemies.
This enables a window of attack from a greater range, though miss a beat or take a hit, and your area of attack reduces to the starting point. Power-ups include weapons – melee and projectiles that are transferred over to you by defeating an enemy. As your kabuki-like character is more or less glued to the spot, you don’t have to collect an item lying on the floor manually.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to bring music to the masses. With such a responsibility, it’s good to know the soundtrack in Terrorhythm (TRRT) is a decent one. It has to be. The style is predominantly electronica and varies in speed based on the level you play; the further you go, the faster the tempo and subsequent challenge. One Finger Death Punch has demonstrated that you needn’t have the prettiest of graphics for a successful rhythm game. That said, Terrorhythm (TRRT) is gorgeous in places.
The main nameless character you take control of and the backdrops are great. I didn’t find them as bleak as the synopsis would like to paint. Instead, it felt vibrant and edgy. The same can’t be said about the waves of faceless attackers. From my viewpoint, they were a little bland – even with the differences in appearance to the generic footsoldiers, the higher level baddies felt somewhat bland compared to the main characters sleek design.
While looking into some of the music that features in the game, the Steam version has a custom mode where you can import your own MP3’s to play along. This is a fantastic idea and would substantially change my stance on the game. Alas, the Switch doesn’t have this feature. Bummer.
The Good, The Bad, And The Perfect
Does the custom music option let Terrorhythm (TRRT) down? Not really, but it would have been a big selling point to add your own music as it gives the game a new meaning, and more of an incentive when it’s the music you listen to by choice. Well, some of us have to listen to The Jonas Brothers and Disney soundtracks when you have children. My issue with the game is the fundamental gameplay.
It’s disappointing as Terrorhythm (TRRT) showed a lot of promise but with this mechanic makes it a little challenging to play at times. However, if you can time it right, just watching your character pull off some truly awe-inspiring moves, then the pay off is worth it. I just wish the controls were tweaked and a little more laid back on the timing.
I’ve never been particularly good at rhythm games, but always liked that element of pretend play where you’re in one of your favourite bands playing an impressive solo – Rock Band or Guitar Hero come to mind on the easy setting. Despite my lacking ability, I’m not incompetent as there’s a scale on whether a note you played is good, bad, perfect – whatever. In Terrorhythm (TRRT), even with the added calibration setups, hitting a note is either a hit or miss with nothing in-between.
This proved to be frustrating as there would be times where I was overwhelmed by waves of enemies from left and right, but it was difficult to get a rhythm up to hit back without button mashing. In the end, that’s what I resorted to and as a result, ended up losing each time. When it’s game over, you effectively get ‘disconnected’ and then start the process again.