Go! Go! Break Steady (XBLA)

Review: Go! Go! Break Steady


Rhythm Action/Puzzler

Get irritated on nearly every level.




Ok gentle reader HEED MY WORDS. For starters, I’m not a fan of XBLA games. Sure it’s a nice concept but I just like the idea of the Playstation store or even the Wii shop better (not too sure why) so writing this review has been quite tricky. It’s been hard for me to define what’s good seeing as I rarely play other XBLA games and therefore don’t have much of a frame of reference so listen up and I’ll try to make this as easy to understand as possible (erk). Ok then, Go! Go! Break Steady (I honestly hate this name, it’s like its trying to be Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan) is a Rhythm Action Puzzle game. If this combination sends shivers up your spine then stop reading now.

About the clearest shot of the rhythm bits we could find. Complete with mandatory comedy fat character.

Although the combination of rhythm puzzle sounds a bit odd aspects of it do work well together. The average round works like this (regardless of which game mode you are playing). The song starts and as per every other rhythm game and its mother you have to hit the button (A, B, X or Y – in much later levels they throw in a d-pad direction also) when the button enters the circle in the middle of the screen.

After the rhythm section is over (it can be anywhere for 8 to 12 buttons long) you then switch to the puzzle section which is essentially a big ring/arc of coloured blobs (they have a name but it really doesn’t matter) orange, green and blue (later levels will throw in a couple extra colours too). You then have a few of said coloured blobs and your goal is to fire them one at a time at the ring to make 3 in a row (exactly like Zuma on XBLA), when you do this they explode and the aim of the game is of course to get rid of all blobs in the ring.

Now lets jump back to the rhythm section for a moment. If you hit all the buttons perfectly (with good timing) then when you get to the puzzle section you will have three of the blobs to fire. If you hit all of the buttons but not with perfect timing then you will only have one blob to fire. Obviously you’re going to solve the puzzle section quicker if you are firing 3 blobs at a time rather than the one. Note that during the rhythm sections you have to hit all of the notes – if you fuck up and hit the wrong button you have to repeat that sequence again (and repeating it doesn’t necessarily mean it ill the exactly the same pattern – this makes things harder). Did I mention this is all done to a timer? Shit, I hope Rich has got some good captures that makes sense of these ramblings.

Bringing it all together for multiplayer.

So relatively simple – Rhythm section – hit all the notes. If you do it perfect you get three blobs, do it ok and you only get on blob. Puzzle section – fire either your one blob or three blobs in order to create 3 in a row of the different colours and make them explode. Rinse and repeat.

Things get a little more complex later on. During rhythm sections the notes do not always come form right to left, sometimes they’re up to bottom, left to right or sometimes spiralling round and round towards your circle in the centre, and quite frankly at times I had real bad headaches trying to follow the rhythm sections (literally with the headaches, but that’s a problem I suffer from frequently). The puzzle section sometimes drops bombs into the big ring of blobs. If you get three of the same colour near a bomb, it makes a big explosion that takes out more of the blobs (a good thing). Obviously if you explode 3 (or more) blobs it causes the surrounding blobs to move in closer and if they are the same colour then they will also explode (just like creating combos in Columns) which is obviously key to defeating some of the later levels quickly.



Secondary Review

Colin’s review pretty sums up everything you can say about this game but hey I’ve got two hundred or so words to fill so let’s give it a go. For a game with such distinct parts, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’d have a lot of depth but the rhythm sections are fairly simplistic (whilst being hard as nails to complete) and the puzzle bits really are just Zuma but with confusing presentation.

The tiresomely urban flavour does at least evoke memories of Jet Set Radio and the tunes on offer are tolerable. Of course, there are a selection of stupid characters to play as but that’s to be expected.

Despite all the annoyances, I still quite like this game. It is probably too punishing for some which is unexpected given the dumbed down appearance and I’ve never really liked the Zuma style gameplay anyway but overall it is at least average, maybe just a tad over.

Secondary Score: 5/10

The games main mode has you playing as of 6 different characters through 5 different levels (songs) on 3 different difficulties, so that’s 90 different levels of pretty much the same thing happening which needless to say leads to some mighty quick repetition. Aside from this there is also an endurance mode, which as you would expect has you plying to see how long you can last for and also a challenge mode, which as far as I could figure out just has you creating a playlist of levels and you then play through them in the order you have set. As I said I don’t know what the standard is, but this all seems quite insubstantial for a videogame even one that cost 800 M$ points, I have no idea of what this is in your earth pounds.

A few online modes are included such as co-op endurance but I was never able to find any games going on online and to be honest I was only going to try them for the purpose of this review, I have not desire to seek them out now.

To surmise I’d say this is an interesting game but due to the fact you are switching between rhythm and puzzle sections frequently you never really have time to get good at either. You don’t get the prolonged exposure to the rhythm sections to get a good feel for the music (which isn’t great) you’re playing to and hence to get to feel the rhythm from the button sequences and neither do you get to see the puzzle section for great periods of time (remember there is a clock ticking down) so you cant really plan setting up big combs (if these the explode that, then those four will come together and bring three closer together to cause a chain reaction to destroy those seven etc). The game is competent enough on the easier/normal difficulties but in order to succeed at higher levels it will obviously require a new school of thinking. Not Rhythm based thinking. Not puzzle based thinking. Something else…

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆


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