Review – Arcaea (Nintendo Switch)

There was a lot to love about the Nintendo Switch before it even launched, including the ability to take the console with you on the go. But some of the games released in the last few weeks have been a bit of a let down, so I went back over some of the games that I played at E3 2017 to see if any of them stood out.

In a sea of product releases, it’s almost easy to forget about the 2nd generation of the Nintendo Switch. But while the current version has changed a lot, the generation 2 has had a kind of “under the radar” presence. The story of the device is that it started as an experimental, portable, mobile gaming console for Nintendo. When it was only a little known unit, Nintendo announced that it would be available through third parties, which in turn caused the system to go on sale at retail.

Developed by Yacht Club Games, Arcaea is a Metroid-style game starring a spacefaring girl with a cute pet cat named Tails. Taking control of the heroine, you explore a variety of planets in your search for powerful crystals that can be used to power your ship.

The rise and fall of rhythm-based games goes way back. From the untouchable legacy of Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution to something completely different, when you could play in a full band in Rock Band or be a DJ in DJ Hero. The genre has become much more popular with the Tap Tap game on mobile phones, tablets and even the iPod Touch. Arcaea – New Dimension Rhythm Game takes all these games and creates something new. Track may change from light to dark, but usually does not change much. Arcaea has character stories, which means the game has a beginning and an end, even if it doesn’t really feel like it. In the same way that Guitar Hero 3 has a beginning and an end. A little note for those taking the game: Make sure you play in world mode as much as possible and not in fast play mode. After a few hours of not being able to unlock things, I realized where I had gone wrong. The World mode offers players plenty of options to get started, with each world offering different unlockable items, from different characters to new music. Some of the music you earn in world mode is used to advance in the story, which also has its own unlockables, so pay close attention to what you’re looking for. word-image-311 The loading screens are quite simple, but don’t last more than a few seconds. Now, the gameplay. Arcaea was originally developed for mobile devices and is primarily played with touch controls. It is possible to play with Joycons or another controller though. The touch controls are easy enough to pick up, Arcaea has track tones and sky tones like most rhythm games. The note track is very similar to every other game you’ve ever played: Press the track or controller button that corresponds to where the note will be when it crosses the line to score. If you play Arcaea with a controller, you’ll have to get used to the button layout: LB, left and low on the D-pad meet two lanes on the left, and RB, A and B meet two lanes on the right. One thing that doesn’t come up in the game, but that you need to get used to from the start, is that if two left tracks have a note at the same time, pressing only LB won’t hit them at the same time, so it’s useful to get used to alternating keys for such cases. word-image-312 With a huge selection of songs divided into different playlists. It really gets interesting when we talk about the sounds of heaven. There are several types of these indexes. There is a regular band that looks like the travel notes, it comes in blue, pink or blue-pink. Each color indicates whether the left or right key should be used, and for the two-color key, both keys can be used. It sounds simple enough, but it gets more complicated when the ordinary sounds of the air come into play. While the supported track notes are simple because you just press and hold the right key, the sky notes work very differently. No key is needed to record a struck note; the joysticks are used to follow the path of the note: If it goes to the left, hold the joystick to the left, and so on. This becomes even more fun in the songs with a higher difficulty level, when the notes go up and down and from left to right. As before, the Superset notes can be blue or pink, depending on the joystick you use. This means being prepared to multitask when one note goes down and another up, when a note moves in different directions, and when it doesn’t. Arcaea will challenge your brain. Sky’s touch controls work the same way: You have to slide your finger across the screen to follow the notes you’re holding, while you can tap anywhere in the top half of the screen to hit the bars. word-image-313 A little Anime Girl. The music in Arcaea is pretty good, as it should be, being a rhythm game and all. Although at first glance one might think that Arcaea consists only of anime-themed music, the music is actually more EDM-style. Dance music for the less musically inclined. For fans of the mobile version, the Switch version comes with a new set of songs and a new character. One of the songs, Blocked Library, is already on my playlist. The game is very varied – about 150 songs, and each song is given a number that indicates the difficulty level. word-image-314 It was much easier to hold the screen with my right hand. Complexity works in much the same way as most games: There is complexity in the past, present and future. These are mainly light, medium and heavy tasks. Normally, the songs in each section are given a number. In the future, some in terms of difficulty might have something like a 9+ instead of a 9 or 10. Honestly, I never understood why. Maybe it was too hard to get a 9, but not hard enough to get a 10. Just like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, new notes and tips are added as you reach higher levels of difficulty. Thus, Sky-Sustain’s notes generally do not descend and rise on the complexity of the past. Arcaea gave me a lot of pleasure, especially as a big fan of rhythm-based games. It’s fun to take it and play a few songs, and it’s pretty easy to do. Personally, I found myself playing for at least an hour when I only had one or two songs to play. It is certainly not easy to master. So if you’re looking for a new challenge and Guitar Hero has become another dead franchise, get Arcaea.

There’s not much to say about the graphics. Each song has its own custom cover that usually fits the song. The drawings of the characters are also nice, and the different notes are easy to identify. The backgrounds could perhaps have been a little more varied, but that’s the only real complaint we can make. One of the hardest rhythm games I’ve ever played. There is so much to learn in the game, and the ability to learn each song two ways (touch and controller) adds even more variety.
This is a musical game with excellent music. I haven’t come across a single song that feels like it’s drawn out, unlike the early Guitar Hero songs and such. I really enjoyed it and plan to keep playing daily. There is much to learn here for any rhythm lover.
Final decision: 9.5

Arcaea is already available on Nintendo Switch. Test the Nintendo Switch. A copy of the book Arcaea was made available by the publisher.


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In our review of Arcaea, we’ve played through the first three stages of the game, and are now at the halfway point. We’re less than half way through the game, and we’re almost halfway through our review, so we’ve got alot to talk about.. Read more about nintendo switch covers and let us know what you think.

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