Plug in the guitar!
Strike the drum
Me, I tune my bass
One two three four…
This is a more than enticing summary of what the Polish developers at Hyperstange are trying to offer with their latest title Loud. A rhythm game that gives pride of place to rock sounds. But this segment is starting, like many others on our Nintendo Switch, to be very well provided with a title that is very pleasant to play. So will he succeed in making his place on the front of the stage? This is what we will see next.
In the middle of the night
Loud offers us the opportunity to follow the wanderings of Astrid, a young teenager who is passionate about rock. This is how she spends many hours in her room miming her favorite Air Guitar bands with a broom. Suffice to say right away that our attachment to this young lady is immediate. The candor that emerges from this introduction inevitably reminds us of our youth to play in the void the solo of our favorite guitarist, Van Halen on Beat It personally.
The rest of the story will introduce us to our heroine’s rise in the world of music. This narration is done in the form of a still image in which the subtitles of Astrid’s monologues are embedded. The candor of the start gradually gives way to a story stitched together with white thread and good feelings, less pleasant to follow and above all extremely short. This will be the main criticism that we will make in respect of the Poles.
To get the end of Astrid’s story, there are only twelve pieces to master. So these last a few minutes each time, but to see the end of the story one hour is more than enough, it’s very low. Of course, the essentials of a rhythm game are elsewhere, but with just three additional bonus songs, the overall content is still quite light, especially compared to the competition.
With a ratio of 1.3 pieces per euro spent, we are in the low range of titles of the genre, by comparison DEEMO increases the ratio to 6.7 and only the very good Avicii Invector offers less with a ratio of 1, 25. And it’s a shame, because the compositions made by the five musicians in charge of the soundtrack are of good quality. Between soft ballads and greasy metal riffs, there is something for everyone and the variations of rhythm and style are always a pleasure to discover.
Regarding the gameplay, the specifications are respected to the letter. We have in front of us six lines which undoubtedly correspond to the six strings of a guitar. These six lines correspond to a key on our joy-cons. The left lines to the Up, Down and Left keys and the right lines to the X, B and A keys. The notes are represented by three stars which arrive in rhythm on these lines, it is up to us to press the right key at the right moment.
There are three types of stars, the classic ones that only require a simple tap and that give us points that depend on our accuracy. Those asking us for a long press and allowing us to use one of the two sticks to simulate the use of vibrato which will scroll the points according to the number of circles made with them. Finally the last ones ask us to bludgeon the appropriate button to, again, explode the point counter.
These three types of notes are linked on the six lines to form a rhythm game in which you will have to show reflexes and rhythm to reach the famous rank S at the end of the piece. Special sections allow, in the event of no faults, to obtain bonus points and a score multiplier will go so far as to multiply the result of each note by five in the event that we chain the no faults.
The complexity is quite homogeneous on the twelve pieces of the story mode. The challenge therefore depends on the level of difficulty chosen. If Chillin’ mode makes it easy to familiarize yourself with the controls and complete the story, Skillin’ mode requires good coordination to reach an S rank which then unlocks Grindin’ mode. This last mode of difficulty is clearly a notch higher and requires learning the pieces so as not to be surprised and to be able to reach the end of the level.
Spit your venom
And so we come back to the problem already mentioned above, the lack of content. Once the story mode is over, we unlock the four bonus titles, these correspond to the last degree of difficulty and the reaction speed is no longer enough, we will have to put in place a muscle memory to master the sequences. But there is no learning mode, you will have to chain unsuccessful attempts trying to memorize the key rhythms, which, given the speed reached, becomes very difficult, at least for the poor tester that I am.
Concerning the graphic part also we have to face a content which leaves on its hunger. Our heroine has in all and for all four outfits and four guitars, the starting ones included. Repeating the same songs over and over again to improve our scores does not in any way unlock cosmetics that could have given us a goal and justified training.
The graphic effects that could accompany our successes are far below what the competition offers, just a few flashes from time to time. In the same way, if the musical part knew how to enchant us with its tracks drawing on the side of a sympathetic soft metal, Astrid’s interjections are much more painful. If it’s “Wah” and other “Awesome” are cute when she plays with her broom, they quickly become boring and bother more than they make you smile because of their repetitiveness and their lack of renewal.
The controls respond perfectly and if we preferred to take advantage of the gameplay with joy-cons whose Up, Down and Left keys are well separated, the handling with the pro controller is not unpleasant and it in no way handicaps the player due to the replacement of the buttons by a directional cross.
- The narration, for a rhythm game, is really engaging…
- The graphics allow perfect readability
- The gameplay is controlled and varied
- The rock/soft metal soundtrack is very pleasant to listen to
- The four difficulty levels are well calibrated
- … but far too short
- The playlist is far too limited with only fifteen titles
- The lack of a training mode makes progress difficult
- Graphical effects are really limited
- The interjections of our heroine are quickly painful
- No unlockable cosmetics to encourage replayability