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Levels are like creating circuitry.

Rytmos – Game Review

Rytmos is a unique oddity in the puzzle genre of gaming. It’s both a puzzle and a musical toy, whilst not really feeling like either is too complex or overwhelming to play with. There is a lot of aesthetic at play here which makes Rytmos more than the sum of its parts but you’ll need to be comfortable with a few gameplay elements going in.

I need to declare something straight off the bat. I hate slider puzzles. You know, those puzzles where you slide blocks around a frame to rebuild a jigsaw picture? Rytmos starts off a little like that as every world is a 6 sided cube with 6 mini puzzles on. Your goal is to create a circuit loop and then slide your wire along in one direction until it hits a wall and then you choose your next move. There are circular speakers you’ll need to place in your loop. You’ll need to collect at least one on your travels to pass the level but getting them all gives you a gold pass and a gold pass brings a full layer of music to the game’s audio mix.

Levels are like creating circuitry.

Each mini-puzzle is part of a world of music, so when you solve it a more complex bassline, melody or drum track joins the mix. Each world looks at different genres of music and finishing a world unlocks a bonus playable instrument. This then allows you to record a short 4-bar melody or beat to the music you’ve just built. Shake some maracas, play a gamelan, twist some synth knobs – it depends on the world you are in. Once you’ve had enough you file the track away as a vinyl in your collection and pick your next world. It’s a really neat gameplay loop that drips constant dopamine for every right move you make.

Rytmos also gets gameplay mechanic progression right too. The first world introduces you to the fact that every move is a constant slide. After that, you get an ice cube to move around and create false walls to slide to. Then you can push and move parts of the level, warp holes to jump around levels or have weird diamonds that will drag you around. Then later on levels mix and match all these different things together. By the small nature of each level, you won’t have tons of move options to play with but Rytmos is certainly rewarding to play as you solve mini-puzzles to get a bigger, better song to play for you.

Each set of levels brings new gameplay mechanics, keeping you entertained.

Whilst I applaud the game design, look, feel and sound – I did also run into a few issues. Rytmos crashed on me several times trying to exit out of levels and back to the world map. This required a full PC reboot sometimes to get the game to work again. I also had issues closing the game in general. The other thing that I felt was a missed opportunity was the ability to use the instruments you unlock more. Each has its own sounds and button layouts, but once you’ve tinkered with them, it is all over too quickly. I’d like to be able to go back and create music with all the music loops you can unlock per level. Even if it was a simple on/off switcher system. The musical element of Rytmos feels underutilised for the amount of work that’s clearly gone into it.

Those niggles aside, Rytmos gave me a beaming smile throughout its runtime. It’s an obscure and abstract puzzle game that won’t tax your brain to ridiculous levels of insanity. It will reward your every right move though with grooves, beats and melodies and keep you learning about different types of music by stealth. Great fun.

Rytmos is out now for PC and Switch.

Rytmos
Final Thoughts
Quirky and addictively simple puzzle game that fans of the more unusual and abstract puzzle or music game genres will appreciate greatly.
Positives
Simple slider puzzle base, that builds complexity over time.
Adding musical layers per puzzle piece completed works really well and gives plenty of dopamine.
Edutainment in stealth - you'll learn about unusual music genres and some instrumentation.
More than the sum of its parts if its style and aesthetic grabs you.
Negatives
A few game crashing bugs trying to back in and out of levels.
Would love to have had the opportunity to play more with the musical side of the game.
8
Great

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