Superbeat: XONiC

I played this game back on the Vita, and I found it amazingly easy to pick up and play a song or three. The fact that there’s no story mode or campaign mode means that you play much like you would play DDR or PUI in that you select a mode, pick a song, and have at it. If you fail, game over. If you succeed, you move on to the next song. After 3 songs, you get graded on performance overall and rack in your experience and hopefully unlock some more songs, modes, DJ icons, and other things. As such, the game might seem incredibly short or shallow, but that’s not quite the case. Unless you’re a god at rhythm games, you’re going to want to better your performance on each of the songs and unlock all of the game’s content.

Speaking of content, there are over 65 songs and 7 new songs added just for the Switch release. Songs range from R&B, Rock, K-Pop, to techno. There’s something for everyone, but I find music that I normally wouldn’t listen to are the ones I like to play the most. I think that has to do with the way they match up to the beat. Techno and K-Pop songs tend to follow very strong beats while other genres follow more subtle notes.

One thing I have to say is that this game is very difficult. If you’re extremely good at rhythm games, you may not have the trouble I have with the game, but one thing that really gets me is the asymmetric analog sticks on the Nintendo Switch. I first played this game on the Playstation Vita, and found that hitting the analogs was difficult, but that was more on my ability to use them than it is now. Now, I’m fully able to use the analog sticks in this game, but having the analog sticks in a different position really twists my brain when I feel like they should be in the same place respective to what’s happening on the screen. What I mean is that sometimes you need to hit up or down on the left or right analog stick, and transitioning your thumb down on your right hand and up on your left to hit the sticks really makes me struggle. I’ve gone back and tried it on the Vita, and I don’t have the same issue. You might be better at adjusting than I am.

XONiC uses a UI similar to Persona 4 Dancing All Night in that notes spread out from the center of the screen until they land on a beat zone that’s just outside your peripheral vision if you focus on the center of the screen. Each side has up to 6 possible inputs, including: up, left/right, down, analog up, analog down, and shoulder button. On the right side, these are X, Y/A, B, analog up, analog down, and shoulder button. The analog can sometimes have you slide from up to down and back on a single note. These are a little fun to do, but become much more complex when you have to hit other notes while doing so.

Despite coming from a relatively unknown company, Superbeat XONiC does have a pretty big name behind it, in a way. Many of the people who worked on XONiC are former members of the team that made DJMax Portable and it’s sequels. If you enjoyed those games, this will be right up your alley. It has become my go-to game for casual pick-up-and-play gaming on the Switch, and is usually loaded up in stand-by for when the time comes. That’s despite the fact that I’m total trash at it.