Music games always save some spots for my weekend. As a musician and a gamer, I can't help but love games that combine great gameplay with great music. However, rhythm game is an exception, all you need for a good rhythm game is not the gameplay, all you need is the music.
That's the reason why I completely lost myself with the latest game from Ferver Studios, called VRM or Viking Remix Madness. The game is completely simple. It's as simple as you only need to remember three things, tap, swipe, and triple tap. If you've remembered this, you're done with the rule of the game.
Viking Remix Madness is the debut AppStore game for Los Angeles based developer, Ferver Studios. The ideas coming from their favorite rhythm games, Rhythm Heaven Fever and another fantastic rhythmic game called Elite Beat Agents, both from Nintendo.
In Viking Remix Madness, you'll be accompanied by viking sailors that set sail into endless journey. You will have two fellow rows men, one steer man, and one weird yet rockafella captain. You'll be using the cargo ships that usually called knarr viking ship. In viking eras, this ship is used for fishing or short trips. They can cross the river or doing some journey across the sea.
The journey won't be easy as you will be facing countless of distraction, from the easy one such as a lonely viking standing in a stone alone, until two seagulls (I think one of them named as Fred) talking about who is the best basketball players.
The Gameplay is Devilishly Simple
Like I've said, the gameplay is devilishly simple. You just need to be in sync with your fellow vikings, tapping the screen when they're saying HEY! and HO! It's not easy at the tutorial, but one or two games will make you feel more comfortable with the game.
Don't go at ease and thinking that this game is easy, no one said that this game is easy. I said that this game is 'devilishly' simple. Yes, I'm not exaggerating any word here. As you sail through the sea with your companions, you will meet a rapidly changing beat. Sometimes you can be at ease with the Hey-Ho rhythm. However, at some point where you can't expect, the beat goes changing without further notice.
At some point, you will even have to swipe, then right after it, there will be a 'cue' for triple tap. Of course, it all didn't just happen, during the tutorial you will be told that there will be a unique cue for both swipe and triple tap. The cue would be both visual and audio cue.
You will have three chances to survive. Everytime you miss the beat, one of your crew will be eaten up by the dangerous sea. The first one that will go down when you miss is the captain. This captain will give you a quite obvious visual cue, especially when you have to do swipe and triple tap, the captain will do some unique weird action to remind you if you need to do the special action. This is the most obvious visual cue in the game.
The second one to go is the steer man. This steer man will also gives some visual cue, but compared to the captain, the visual cue seems more blurry. And when you miss again, a huge wave will smash your ship and you have to do it all over again.
Did they create all that Distraction??
Viking Remix Madness is great not just because their simple gameplay, or music, or their viking-ish theme, or their cute graphics. I like Viking Remix Madness because they keep the game engaging despite this simplicity of gameplay.
As an example, as you row and row endlessly, the stage will also change. As the stage change, the music will be following as well. By stage change, I mean the background will change, the weather condition will change, and I save the best for the last, the distractions are also changing.
The distraction is one of the strongest point in Viking Remix Madness. Not only a mere distraction, the distractions were made specifically to distract you from the cue or from the beat you're keeping. They even create two kinds of distraction, the audio distraction and the visual distraction.
Let's talk about the visual first. In the visual you can be distracted by various kinds of distraction. From softer distraction in the background like a left-alone vikings in stone taking some weird pictures, frozen vikings, flock of seagulls, jumping small fish, beautiful scenery like aurora lights, heavy snow storm, rainy day, until a more hardcore distraction.
These hardcore distractions aren't only distract you, it will totally cover your vision from visual cue so that you can only rely on your ears. From what I've encountered, you will be welcomed with two weird seagulls chatting about best basketball players in the world, a weird purple unicorn whale, and bird poop splatted all over your screen. I haven't encountered anything worsen than that (yet).
The audio distraction is also there and gives a rather 'crazy' feeling from the game. The distraction will depend on where you're now, in which area are you. If you're in the tidy area, the most crazy audio distraction that you can hear is that one of your crew is farting. Please be more understanding since we're at a ship full of vikings. So this kind of treason is actually can be forgiven.
Viking Music Instruments?
Like I've said, if there's anything that make a rhythm game, a game, it's the music. In the opening screen you will be welcomed with viking, light, party background music, accompanied with the sound of ocean's wave.
However, once you've entered the game, there will be I think approximately four areas. The first one is the tidy weather. In this area the music will be more like a soothing music, just like the calm oceans. The second area is the stormy area. In this area you will have a more heavy metal music, but still in the same tempo. Also the captain will play his riff once you enter this area so make sure you enjoy his performance.
Now, I don't want to spoil all the fun you could have, so for the other areas, you can check the music style your own. The only thing you need to know is that all the songs are resembling viking music, in instruments.
With this quality, Viking Remix Madness deserves a spot in my music games folder. It has beautiful music, and above all, Viking Remix Madness keeps the players engaged with the game. It's hard to put this game down once you've started to play. If there's one that I could complain is that once you pause the game, you're most likely have to re-sync your beat with your crew again. I would love to see the update for this game and I can't not recommend this game for you all.
About Ferver Studios
Ferver Studios is a game developer studios that based on Los Angeles, CA. It consists of three person, Franklin Lei as the artist, Mu-Hua Cheng as the composer/sound design, and Tim Hou as the developer. Viking Remix Madness is their first game for the AppStore. You can visit their website at ferverstudios.com, and follow their twitter, and their facebook page.