I’ll always make it my business to check out a game if music is meaningfully integrated. From Crypt Of The NecroDancer‘s beat-hopping and Vib-Ribbon’s path-generating, to the Rock Bands and DJ Heros that clogged up all of our attics with plastic instruments, I love it all. Well… not all.
I don’t need to tell you that Harmonix are the superstars of this world. They’re the ones that gifted us the cultural phenomenon of toy guitars, so you better believe I’ll be paying attention to whatever they release. It’s like that chart-topping act you had plastered all over your walls 20 years ago: they don’t get radio play anymore, but you’ll always give their new stuff a spin.
Fuser is basically the more game-y version of DropMix — the developer’s music-mixing card game they released on mobile. You play as an up-and-coming DJ that has apparently got their hands on the four stems of many popular, and some shit, songs. Your goal is to mix like you’ve never mixed before, so that the thousands in attendance are losing their minds. You’ll occasionally get requests from the crowd to play something from a particular genre/decade/artist, but it’s mostly up to you. So, come and have a go if you think you’re disc jockey enough.
And the wonderful thing is that you often will be. Unless you have the rhythm of an interim British prime minister at a party conference, your mash-ups will fall somewhere between decent and phenomenal. That’s all thanks to the inexplainable sorcery that Harmonix have cooked into the game. You can slap the horns from Panic! At The Disco’s High Hopes over the bassline from the very 2012 Thrift Shop and you’ll make music magic. It doesn’t always work out, and it’ll be jarring when something is just slightly off, but blending seemingly immiscible sounds together to create the next addition to your Spotify playlist is an incredible feeling.
Should the vocals from Ace Of Base’s 1993 hit The Sign go with the music from DMX’s promise to give it to you? Of course they shouldn’t. But, as you can hear at the end of the video below, it’s a match made in heaven!
As exceptional as my Ace Of Base x DMX mash-up is — thank you — what you don’t see in that video is that Fuser does offer more than just swapping in and out tracks. You can apply effects to individual decks (or your entire mix), you can change the tempo, the key, the mood if you want to go from minor to major or vice versa: it’s so much fun just feeling your way around and discovering what works.
While the campaign will grade your performances, rewarding or scolding as necessary, that’s not where Fuser truly shines. It’s about sweating through an hour-long mix, and creating something a little special in the process.