Most rhythm games boil down to the same basic, simple gameplay mechanic. Just keep pressing the button that corresponds with the shiny thing on screen. This concept has started to grow old recently, and the genre is largely on the decline because of it. Chainsawsome Games debut title Beatblasters III is doing something to change that. Beatblasters III takes elements from the rhythm or music genres and combines them with platformer and puzzle elements to find a new, unique experience.
The game starts out with our two heroes Joey and Gina arriving in a small town called Accepella. The town is ran by a tyrannical butcher who hates music and doesn’t allow it (kind of like in Footloose). Upon hearing the music blasting from our heroes’ headphones he kicks them out with such force they end up in a different land. Now Joey and Gina must use their music powers to get back home, defeat the butcher, and bring music back to Accepella.
Both heroes largely control the same. They both have the power to fire blasters, create shields to block enemy attacks and move objects, as well as rocket boots that allow you to fly for short periods and quickly get places. Each of these three powers can only be used for short periods of time before they must be recharged. The powers all change the music in the game as well. Each level starts out very quiet, almost silent until you start using your powers. Then the more powers you use the better the music becomes. Recharging your powers is the most rhythm game like section of the game. You just hold down the recharge button and press the button of the power you want to recharge with the beat. This could easily be annoying with enemies and everything else on screen, but Beatblasters III does a great job of stopping this from happening. You can just listen to the beat and not even look at the rhythm gauge. Leaving you free to still move your character around.
As you recharge your powers your special gauge will also fills up. When it is full you can activate your special attack. These special attacks give you unlimited use of all your powers for a limited time, as well as unleash a character specific attack. Joey’s shooting blaster shots around and around, while Gina’s shoots fewer blaster shots, but they are more powerful and chase enemies. This gives you a few different options when choosing how to use your special. Maybe I want to use my special attack and unlimited blaster to inflict as much damage on a boss as possible, or maybe I want to use the special attack as cover fire so I have time to charge all my powers.
Each level on your walk back to Accepella offers you something completely different than the last. Both in regards to the situation itself, and what is required of you. One level you’ll find yourself protecting cow eggs with your shield until they hatch, then before you know it you will be in a deadly battle against a flying chocolate cake monster. My favorite level perhaps being an escort mission where you walk some senior citizens to the casino. Along the way you have to blast teenagers who are on their phones not paying attention that will walk into the seniors; or use your shield to redirect cars over the seniors.
I had a really good time with what I played of Beatblasters III. The full release will be coming sometime early this year and I for one can’t wait. There is also a demo available right now on Steam that I recommend checking out.