A rhythm game where timing is a fraction of the action.
I’ve been plugging away at rhythm games since I first picked up Dance Dance Revolution in 2006. With a stint as #1 on the leaderboards on Guitar Hero III and regularly playing still to this day, it’s easily my favorite genre and one I’m always looking for new games to explore within. When I came across Klang 2, I figured it had an interesting spin as the player’s performance took place within a battle. With little else to go on and no experience with the previous Klang, I dove right in and immersed myself into the electronic soundscapes the game provides.
Any weathered rhythm gamer will tell you that the background of a song doesn’t matter. With differing input requirements and precision being a factor, Klang 2 demands you zone in to the corresponding visual indicators to max out their score. Players will pay the utmost attention to these indicators to ensure their hitboxes are perfectly mashed, slid across, and held. Upon hitting these, you’ll receive a “Perfect”, “Very Good”, or an idea of if you approached the note too early or late. With the charts incorporating eighth notes, third notes, and other off-beat indicators, precision is needed not only from rhythm, but locational accuracy, as notes will pop up on every side of the screen.
Klang 2‘s aforementioned hit markers are akin to games like Elite Beat Agents, Project Diva, and OSU. Not only will you be hitting notes, you’ll have to swipe in designated directions and hold notes when their shapes appear. You’ll have an understanding of when to hit these notes based on the shapes closing in on the outline of the note. As such, it gets tricky when you have to move to different sides of the screen rapidly. Thankfully, the mapping of the rhythms was meticulous and they always completely make sense within the context of each song. Within the realm of PC, clicking/dragging with the mouse was optimal, but there’s also a keyboard option for the arrow keys if one should wish to play the game that way. Even with frantic visuals, the maxed out graphics never saw my framerate drop and I never missed a note due to game performance, nor did my PC fans ever have to kick in to cool the GPU. As a rhythm game savant, I still found myself challenged, especially in later levels, so Klang 2 gets the seal of approval for difficulty and execution.
There’s a wide variety of artists that contribute to the soundtrack of Klang 2, all with their distinct electronic sound. My haptic-feedback headphones rumbled with the bass and the sound effects tied to hitting notes never overpowered the songs themselves. Even if their default settings are too much, you have the option to turn them down so all you can hear is the song, too. I thoroughly appreciate that the game includes a music offset modifier, so that no matter what monitor/TV is being used to play Klang 2, you’ll have the chance to fix the timing and avoid missing them due to hardware. No word on if the songs are stream-friendly, as DMCA continues to be rhythm gamer’s worst enemy.
So, yes, there’s a plot to Klang 2 – but you have the option to completely bypass it. One may feel as if that’s an indication that it’s completely throwaway and/or low-effort, but that’s not the case here. While a lot of it goes over my head due to not playing the original Klang, I followed along to the game’s story which saw the eponymous protagonist dispatch foes with his trusty soundblade. There’s dialogue between Klang and a devious eye dubbed A-Eye, which provides some lore in-between boss battles. I did like that during hold notes of later boss battles, some exposition took place to give the player some provoking thoughts mid-song. The plot didn’t necessarily serve as a driving force to succeed as it would in another genre’s game, but it wasn’t too rough, all things considered.
So, why should you play it?
- You’re a rhythm gamer of any sort looking for a new challenge at a low price.
- You’re new to rhythm games and want something accessible yet difficult.
- You enjoyed the previous Klang and want more action.
But why shouldn’t you play it?
- A plot is essential to you in a game.
- You struggle with frenetic, fast-paced video games.
A press copy of Klang 2 was provided courtesy of the publisher.