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Loud: My Road to Fame – Review

Rhythm games are some of my favourites and when rock and rhythm combine, you often get something quite special. In the absence of new Rockband instruments, there is a bit of a gap in the market and Loud: My Road to Fame looks to slot into that. It’s a controller based rock rhythm game that puts one foot in the alt-pop world and the other in the classic guitar solo world.

Firstly, let’s break down that sound. Loud runs a gambit of rock. There are 21 original songs, almost all of them instrumental, where the guitar is front and centre. Some are more poppy and use big chord patterns to evoke early 2000 rock vibes. There’s a distinct whiff of Avril Lavigne that comes across in these tracks but often they then swing across to something more grungy or classic stadium rock inspired. The guitar solo’s often hit hard and heavy and a few of the tracks lean into more chaotic shoegazer chugs. The variety makes the soundtrack really stand out and the game is all the better for it.

I love that the opening levels are you jamming on a broom in your bedroom. The dream is real!

Loud: My Road to Fame gives most of its tracks three difficulties and there are big strides between them. The control scheme and UI emphasis this as on casual you are largely pressing and holding one of six buttons at a time. Mapped onto the control, you’ll have three on each side a bit like DJ Max’s 6 button layout, however the d-pad joystick on an xbox controller doesn’t really suit the control layout very well. I often found my finger slipping and triggering a left button press when having to flip constantly between ups and downs. The reason this becomes slightly annoying is that with so many of the buttons requiring some kind of press and hold, Loud expects you to wiggle the left analogue stick to create a live whammy tone for the note. It’s the only way you can crank up your score and so you are pressing, holding, wiggling and manoeuvring at the same time, most of the time. It is an odd issue, and it may just be my fat fingers, but as soon as I moved up the difficulties, I had to abandon all expectations of perfect scores even if I hit things or not as I’d keep triggering things with my left d-pad.

Whilst the note tracks are well thought out, there are instances where the final beats in a bar have button presses that are out of time with the music. It’s more apparent in songs that rely on power chords or repeated riffs but its as if the note track is stuck on 1/8th measures when it needs 1/16th measures to align perfectly. Thankfully, calibration settings are available to improve the hit detection and its needed because the colourful star and crayon UI doesn’t lend itself to precision. It vibrates and moves around slightly which looks nice but isn’t static. Loud is quite precise but does allow some wiggle room for timing errors but again, perfect score chasers will be left slightly annoyed. The other thing that’s less clear is how to fail a song. Like a talent show you have three crosses at the top of the screen and depending on how many notes you miss, they’ll start to fill up. What isn’t perfectly explained is how close you are to triggering the next one and so sometimes it feels like what triggers a failure can be inconsistent.

The wobbly UI does cause the odd perfectionist problem but if you take the casual approach, Loud is very enjoyable.

Whilst I’ve picked at some of the woolly edges of the control scheme and the UI, the fact remains that Loud is a very enjoyable and approachable game despite these niggles. The soundtrack is great, the actual note tracks match either chords, beats or note strums depending on the track and there are moments of excellence when it all comes together. My recommendation is to take it as a casual experience and remove the push for perfection and then you’ll enjoy it more. It’s not quite in the top tier of rhythm games but it is certainly no slouch and genre enthusiasts will get a good few hours of their road to fame and indie rock glory. Especially with its low price point.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Loud: My Road to Fame is out now on Steam.

Loud: My Road to Fame
Final Thoughts
Some minor control issues aside, this is a welcome addition to the casual rhythm roster with a great soundtrack to boot.
Excellent, varied rock soundtrack.
Difficulty levels have decent steps between them.
Customisation works well with the short story edges.
Rhythm charts are well thought out.
Controls can be fiddly on the x-box controllers.
Not all the timing is perfect.
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