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Review: Spin Rhythm XD

Rhythm games and Virtual Reality go together like bread and butter but, they are all feeling a bit to samey now. So, when Spin Rhythm XD was announced and the trailer showed something that looked a little different I was quite excited to see what it would offer.

Release Date: July 9th 2024
Developer: Super Spin Digital
Publisher: Super Spin Digital
Price: US $19.99 / CAN $26.99 / €17,99 / £14.99
Reviewed On: PlayStation VR2
* Access Provided For Review *

Spin, Flick, Tap and Scratch

Spin Rhythm is a simple premise that takes time to master as you move up the tracks and difficulties the game offers. Firstly I would like to say that the game has an impressive electronic soundtrack offering over sixty tracks for players to jump into.

If you played games like Guitar Hero/Rock Band back in the day, the long fret-board design that the notes will travel down. The Spin in Spin Rhythm is from the way you are going to be hitting these notes. At the bottom of the fret-board there is wheel made of alternating colors of blue and red (these can be changed in settings), the idea is spin this wheel to make sure the colour is matching and inline with the current note that is approaching.

You are going to come across five different types of notes that have different actions. A smaller note which you just need to line the color up with, bar notes that you will need to line up and tap your X button to, then the same bar note that you will need to hold the X button down and move the wheel to follow the notes path. Outside of those you will get scratching sections, where you will need to flick the analogue in the direction of the arrow or if both directions are shown wiggle the analogue for the length of the note. The final note being the beat which is shown by a green bar arching over the fret-board, for this you will need to press the trigger in time with it and hold for the longer sections.

Increasing the difficulty will not only increase the speed, but also add new notes to hit at set difficulties. For example tapping to beat is not added until hard mode and having to hold the beat note is introduced at the last difficulty level named XD. So, if you are wanting to add more to the game and have all the base notes you will need to playing on at least hard mode. I did start on Normal and moved on to Hard once I got used the other notes first – my reactions are not quite up to the Expert and XD modes, so I haven’t played a lot of them difficulties.

The game is playable in both VR and flatscreen, with the only real difference in VR being a different way to spin the wheel. In VR you can point the beams coming from the wands at the wheel and spin it this way, while using the buttons to do the other actions. However, I found this way of playing felt less reactive to using the analogue so, I just played the VR mode using the analogues as well.

As you play more and more tracks you will level up, which will give you keys to unlock more songs, unlock new character models, designs for you notes and fret-boards. Also to keep you going back there are leaderboards if this something you like to try and top or challenge friends with.

This Music Is Reactive

Outside of the fret-board for each song has a reactive background, which come to life more when playing in Virtual Reality, a bit like Tetris Effect the levels look great in flatscreen but VR just takes them that step further. What I really like about the level design as well, is although its reacting to parts of the songs they don’t getting distracting and put you off hitting the notes coming at you. With the customisation unlocks mixed with the options to change color styles for the notes and many other elements, you really can get the game looking how you would like. It’s great to see them including all these options, so you are not stuck with colors that don’t work for you.

As aforementioned there is an impressive sixty plus electronic tracks available in the game, this features artists like Moe Shop, Pegboard Nerds, Panda Eyes, Akira Complex and Tokyo Machine to name a few. With what the game is doing in relation to how it is played, this choice of music style fits both the gameplay and visuals perfectly. Even as someone who is not a massive fan of electronic music I enjoyed playing every song – which is testament to how well the game is designed.


The Verdict

Spin Rhythm XD brings a taste of something new to the rhythm game genre in Virtual Reality, with its spin, flick, tap and scratch system. It’s been designed well with the rotation of the wheel at the end of the fret-board to line up the color with the notes, and the rest being done with buttons on the controller. From playing both flatscreen and VR modes they both work well, but the levels reactions to the track is taken to the next level in Virtual Reality. Where the VR mode does offer another way of moving the wheel it doesn’t seem as reactive and personally I found the analogue system is what I stuck to but, I would give it a go as you might find it works better for you. With the rhythm game genre becoming a bit all to familiar with the slice, shoot or punch to the beat approach, it’s great to see Super Spin Digital bring something different and refreshing.