Soundfall Looks Like A New Type of Rhythm Game – PAX West 2018
Soundfall is an action-adventure, rhythmic dungeon crawler from Drastic Games, a team led by Epic Games veterans. If that description sounds like a mouthful, that’s because the game itself involves a lot of moving parts. Mechanically, Soundfall performs a delicate dance. You play as an assortment of characters, making your way through a variety of procedurally generated dungeons with the hook being that you have to play to the rhythm of the music that booms in the background. This means that when you swing your sword, you need to swing it to the beat in order to ensure the best possible hit. When you shoot your weapon, you need to keep in pace with the metronome in order to apply optimal damage. Repeated instances of off-beat execution results in a cool down recovery for your action skills. This means that you need to play to the beat or get beat.
During my time playing Soundfall at Drastic Games’ booth during PAX West, I was able to complete three levels with varying degrees of success. The game contains a surprising level of difficulty which can be the case with rhythm games. The difficulty is amplified when taken into account that the player needs to finish the level before the song ends. This means as you’re playing, not only are you managing enemies, you’re speeding through combat encounters, keeping up with the music, and having a fast paced, action-driven experience.
The first level helped acclimate me to the control scheme and concept of the game. Within seconds, I understood what it was about and within a few more seconds, I was engaged and having a blast. To complement its concept of rhythm based action, Soundfall also has a stylish aesthetic due to its vibrant world, heavily detailed character design, and colorful UI. What takes this up a notch is the game’s style of music. EDM primarily fills the soundtrack and it gets the blood pumping. The fast BPMs present a challenge in catching the rhythm of the beat for an attack while also fully engaging the player with catchy electronic sounds. By the time I had finished the first level, I understood the game and was ready for more.
The second and third levels provided a similar feeling as the first, with varied enemies and different music which happened to fit in the same genre. I questioned the developers regarding the music choice and they emphasized the fact that they love upbeat, high energy music. However, the game will have more to offer outside of EDM.
I left Soundfall excited for what the finish product could end up being. The game is set for release sometime in late 2019 and it has already shaped up to be an intense, unique experience. The developers mentioned Crypt of The Necrodancer and Just Shapes and Beats as inspirations, however from what I’ve gathered, Soundfall has created its own style of game. It’s one of my favorite experiences from PAX West this year and it’s a game you should look forward to.
Follow all of OK Beast’s PAX West 2018 coverage here.