Dum. Tssh. DuDumDum Tssh. Dum. Tssh. DuDumDum Tssh. That’s the drum beat that has been involuntarily tapping its way through my brain since I finished Inside My Radio. While this relatively short & forgiving rhythm platformer doesn’t break any new ground, it slathers the ground it covers in cool style with plenty of game play variety.
Now, you probably read the words “Rhythm Platformer” and immediately thought “Hey! Sound Shapes! That was great! This will be too!” and while both games share a lot, their level components move along to its soundtrack, the two games have very important differences. The main hook being that Inside My Radio’s limits your actions to the beat. Jumping, dashing and smashing all have to be triggered to the rhythm of the music. At first, this added restriction can be jarring but the mechanic adds quite a lot to the game during the later stages. Holding off on a jump for half a second longer than you would normally in order to hit the beat can be exhilarating, keeping you close to the dangers with some clever level design.
Unfortunately, the main story thread is short. It took me 2 hours to complete the main game but the term “all killer, no filler”, so often used for music albums, also applies to Inside My Radio. It constantly introduces new and intuitive aspects from the moment you take your first toe-tapping step until the credit roll. At first it’s just your standard platformer fare – jumping, collecting bits and bobs, moving along platforms – but then the game throws in aspects of Guitar Hero and some rhythmic puzzles to test the grey matter as well as your rhythm. None of Inside My Radio’s content will hold you off for too long – memorising the effects of a few buttons and pressing them in the right order is the most taxing Inside My Radio gets – and the game is overly generous with check points meaning that my 6 year old son has managed to beat the game with very little help.
Inside My Radio is broken down into multiple chapters all of which signify a step up in difficulty. The main character of the game, a green block with headphones and a wicked grin, represents levels with electro-dance music. This green block is brought to life in order to bring to life a dying boom-box. As he traverses the game, he rescues other blocks – an orange block called Barry that loves disco and a brown block called Root that digs Reggae and Dub – that unlock flashback levels based in their respective musical styles. The McGuffin of Inside My Radio is never really explained but when you do eventually come face to face with it (around 4/5ths of the way through the game), it signifies a moderate difficulty spike and the games most impressive and engaging moments.
The games other mode, Time Attack, is where Inside My Radio really starts to make the most of its unique rhythm platforming premise. The 2 hour story levels become a race with a count down clock forcing you to move faster, daring you to push yourself a beat earlier or fail. The interesting thing here is that the game teases you to jump out of your way in order to add more time to the clock via collectables that would otherwise be a longer and more time consuming route through the level.
If it wasn’t for the Time Attack mode, Inside My Radio would be a stylish and pleasurable rhythm platformer that would be too short to bother with. Thankfully, the games second mode adds what the main game campaign was largely missing – a sense of urgency. If you are looking to kill a few leisurely hours by playing your way through an eclectic mix of very well orchestrated music, Inside My Radio is a solid choice – but for those who like a challenge, its sadly missing from the main game.
INSIDE MY RADIO
Developer/Publisher – Seaven Studio
Inside My Radio is available now on PS4 and PSVita.
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a code from the publishers.