I’m always down for a simple idea done with style, especially if it’s a rhythm game. Vectronom is studio Ludopium’s first game; a puzzle-platformer without a jump button, in a world that moves to the beat. Every pulse of the bass, the level shifts to another place in its cycle, and in order to navigate from point A to point B, you’ve not only got to memorise a route, but carry it out in time to the music. There’s even local multiplayer for up to four people, and the trailer below (which the photosensitive probably shouldn’t watch) even suggests trying dance mats, which I can see working.
Vectronom looks and sounds so simple on paper. A cube that moves in four directions, one square per tap. Get from A to B. Except that the route needs to be planned out like dance steps, and committed to memory so that you can perform once the cycle resets. The developer’s YouTube channel features a couple of levels being played through in their entirety – Tower Crush and Sidestep – which should give you an idea of how mean it can get. As it builds up, more hazards appear, like springboards the bounce you two tiles. Plus, the game’s isometric viewpoint opens up the possibility of perspective illusions.
It reminds me a bit of Crypt Of The Necrodancer, stripped down to its absolute most core elements. Instead of trying to maintain rhythm while juggling a roguelike cornucopia of threats, you’ve just got to figure out the right steps and pull them off. This looks all the more fun in multiplayer (demonstrated in this video here), where it almost looks like the players are dance partners, until one of them makes a mistake and the music warps and falters for a moment. Minimalist, but I can see this being compelling stuff with friends, and potentially maddening solo, as any good rhythm game should be.
Vectronom is out now on Steam for £9/€10/$10. The game even supports MIDI instruments, just in case you think you can jam your way to success.