Home > > Not Quite Guitar Hero - Inside My Radio Review
Not Quite Guitar Hero - Inside My Radio Review
Rhythm and music games in the past have mostly fallen into a handful of categories, think Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, or Rhythm Heaven. Inside My Radio seeks to stray from the formulaic status quo of music games by emerging a a rhythm-driven platformer. It reminds me of Bit. Trip Runner meets Thomas Was Alone. The game comes from indie developer Seaven Studio and recently hit the Wii U eShop following it's release on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U [Reviewed]
Developer: Seaven Studio
Release: February 25, 2016
Press Copy provided by Seaven Studio
Inside My Radio starts off by introducing one of the three playable characters and the protagonist: Boombox. He's a green square that rocks a pair of over-the-ear headphones. Boombox sets off on a quest to meet back up with his two buddies (who are also playable in a rotation, but feature no differences bar asthetics) and esxape the radio that he's trapped in.
As far as enganging and sensical plots go, IMR is seriously lacking. As you advance through the twelve playable levels that are seperated by songs, you'll come accross a bit of dialogue here and there. A few jokes and pop culture references are tossed around, but the writing ends up feeling unfunny and forced. After playing through the game in it's entirety, I was still left confused about what was really going on in the story, but it also wasn't interesting enough for me to care. Luckily, in a platformer, a less-than-enthralling story progression can be forgiven. The worthwhileness of this game lies in it's gameplay and environment.
Boombox has an interesting limtation that seperates this game from platformers like Super Mario or Freedom Planet: with the exception of moving left and right, he can only perform actions to the beat of music. Actions include jumping, dashing, crushing, and a few environment-specific actions. This means that in order to traverse the obstacles and puzzles laid out before you, you've got to stay in time and feel the music. To assist you with this, Boombox will flash with a visual cue and there is an optional rhythm helper that is essentially a metronome.
Because of this gimmick, music is the driving force behind Inside my Radio. None of the platforming is particularly challenging or complex, but a few segments can prove difficult if you get out of time or don't act immediately with the music. I even expirimented with playing my own music instead; it increased the difficulty of the game tenfold. Once you start feeling the grooves and let your avatar move the tunes, navigating the world becomes an artform. The environment and obstacles move with the music, so you feel entirely immersed with the game.
Inside My Radio fails to really rack up in difficulty later in the game, so the progression seems a little off. In fact, the appearance of the final (and only real) boss completely took me by surprise. Not only did the boss fight not flow very well with the music, but it came after only two hours of the campaign. Just as I was starting to really get into the game, it was over. Although I was having a great time with the gameplay, the price to hours of enjoyment ratio was far too steep.
After completing the main story, the only additional playing option is a Time-Attack mode, which lets you play through the campaign levels in an attempt to break your previous record speeds. A game this short could really use a New Game+ mode of sorts, because I was left wanting more, but the game isn't replayable enough for another campaign run to satisfy my desires.
Inside My Radio is the perfect game if you're feeling a little worn out and want to relax with some good music and simple platforming. The beautiful art, solid music and rhythms, and immersive gameplay had me truly enjoying myself as I played through. The lacking story and criminally brief playthrough time was where the game fell short. IMR would be a great indie to snag on a sale or after a price drop, but I'm hardpressed to recommend it at the $14.99 pricepoint. Unless you're a die-hard platformer meets electronic music fan, you might want to wait on this one.
- Great presentation of visuals and sound
- Fun and immersed gameplay
- Lackluster story
- Very short campaign
- Too expensive
Good games are simply that: good. They are generally fun to play but might be lacking in longevity, replay value, or presentation. These games might be good buying decisions for some people but not for others. Some otherwise great games may fall into this category if they are priced unreasonably high. The devil is in the details.
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