I’ll eat up almost any rhythm action game but when I initially played the demo of Kovox Pitch last year, I came away with a tepid impression. Thankfully, having now completed the main story and invested time in all the bonus extras and editor, I’m delighted to say my initial impressions were misleading. Kovox Pitch is a stylish rhythm game that feels like a kick drum simulator.
You play as a guy reminiscing on childhood memories and being homesick. Both he and his brother ride their mopeds around to different locations in their home town, strap baseball firing machines out the back of them and play pitcher practice to post punk music. What this means is that you need to press the right button in the right way as balls fly at your face.
Each of the eight areas in story mode introduce new mechanics but the key one early on is shifting lanes. Alongside hitting balls you also get orange switcher balls which asks you to move between background and foreground to continue hitting balls from either your or your brothers machine. This takes a bit of getting used to but its the games’ key mechanic and its well implemented. You can see a hazy out of focus flurry of balls flying in when you aren’t in the right lane and a quick button press switches you back.
In addition to hitting balls you have the press and holds, the button mashers and then different coloured balls requiring switching between two buttons. Later on balls fly in from different arcs (at different speeds) and then mines are added that you have to miss. Missing mines in a rhythm game made me brain fart but it was a fun addition. The sole twist that didn’t work for me was sunset mode – where the entire screen is muted to near darkness. It wasn’t fun nor challenging – just really annoying as you press your face to the screen to see what is coming.
The visuals are striking and work really well but the soundtrack is a real gem. Post punk in rhythm games is unique enough and the songs range from 90 second rock jams to 3 minute post punk anthems. They are Eastern European so don’t expect the English language to pop up but I loved the vibe the game went for. There’s at least 40 songs as there’s plenty more on offer in free play outside of story mode and most songs have multiple difficulty levels too.
What I didn’t expect for the price was a full track and chart editor included too! Here, the game works similar to video editing software and a simplified Project Diva editor. You import wav files and then drop what balls you want to fly out on the timeline strip. It is really well put together and whilst sharing the custom songs will be very limited as you need the original songs, the editor is as intuitive and streamlined as it possibly could be. Lots of other games could learn from this. The sole downside to the game is that its story voiced by what sounds like a text to AI robot. This means that a story about the emotions of family and hometown comforts feels a bit hollow when a robot is telling you about it. It is a tiny niggle in what is otherwise an impressive game.
The way the charts work makes Kovox Pitch feel like a kickdrum simulator. The balls fly at you in a constant stream that made me tap my feet along to the button presses and getting into a flow state felt easy and joyous to do. This is a game that continues to surprise and delight me the more I play it and rhythm action lovers will definitely find an alternative way to spend a few hours of fun here.
An excellent rhythm action game that has plenty of content and customisation for the price. A welcome surprise!
Excellent twist on rhythm action that feels familiar but fresh.
Great soundtrack (all the artists have links in the menu too)
Level editor is simple and intuitive - potentially spawning a modding community and plenty of fun for yourself if you want it.
Loads of tracks already in the game at launch.
The sunset filter is not helpful or fun to play with.
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