Klang 2 is a sequel I didn’t think we’d ever get originally but I’m delighted its here. The rhythm action game takes a unique look at how you go fighting in a 2D plain and whilst its tricky to understand, its moreish. Just don’t expect an easy ride after its harmless tutorial.
You play as Klang who is fighting various enemies and ghosts on his way to face off against his nemesis in a freaky Tron-like world. He wears a mask that lets him see his enemies and it translates their attacks into giant UI blocks on screen for you to try and hit to the rhythm. Think One Finger Death Punch but on a whole more complex level. Across the 30 tracks in the game, you’ll be wielding a giant tuning fork as a weapon. The UI to hit rhythm elements appear on the screen around Klang and you’ll need to aim towards them with the analogue and then strike the note at the right time. It’s like a twin stick shooter at times but rhythmic. It takes a while to get used to.
The main thing that trips me up with Klang 2 are arrow movements. Whilst circles are single hits and squares are press and holds, arrows ask you to move the analogue stick in that direction and press a button but it also moves Klang. This means Klang is now not in the centre of the screen and so you need to adjust your aim accordingly. What might have been a left aim may now be right instead and as he jumps around the screen you need good co-ordination skills to keep up with where you need to point things. It doesn’t help that the UI is very large and so sometimes you end up on the UI and you aren’t sure where to point things but usually Klang 2 will just accept any direction as a hit at that point. Whilst the charts themselves work superbly with the EDM heavy soundtrack, the positions of where something will pop up on screen will change every playthrough, so you can’t truly feel comfortable with muscle memory. This design choice will please and annoy gamers in equal cohorts and is especially key when you have to think about where Klang is on screen too.
For me, that made Klang 2 hard. From world three onwards it was a real struggle to progress and story progress unlocks more of the 30 tracks and then you face off a boss battle depending on your scores. Interestingly, the bosses aren’t big difficulty step ups at all but they do introduce new areas and enemy types to hit. If you get above a 95% score, it unlocks Fast mode. As a way to increase difficulty, the song is played at 1.5x speed! This results in funny chipmunk voices and quicker prompts so it’ll keep you on your toes. A text based story also plays out too which Klang 2 gives you the option of opting out of entirely, which is choice that allows gamers to dive straight into play if they want to.
Visually, Klang 2 looks beautiful. The audio plays out well too. I’ve long enjoyed bLind’s music and his EDM is the cornerstone of the soundtrack. It’s just as well the tracks are great as you’ll need to grind to success. The game heavily penalises missing a few prompts in a row. You can do 99% of the song perfectly and then miss 3 or 4 prompts together (usually because Klang has moved) and then its game over oh so quickly. It’s harsh but that’s part of its charm and challenge. Although I couldn’t find a audio/visual collaboration option in the menu, I didn’t run into any sync issues either which is great and the game ran bug free throughout at launch too.
Rhythm action lovers and EDM fans will lap up Klang 2. It’s an indie music game that is worthy of your time and it will make you work for those rewards. Good luck!
Review copy provided by developer.
Klang 2 is chaotic and tricky to master but it has the rhythm down perfectly to be something you'll grind away on for improved scores over time.
Blood pumping soundtrack keeps you engaged.
Excellent visual design.
Fast mode is funny - whether its meant to be or not!
Sometimes the large UI means its tricky to know what direction to send your attacks.
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