Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5
The indie game developer community has been pushing the boundaries on ideas when it comes to gaming. Over the past five years, we have seen many break-out indie studios that have created massively popular and genre innovative games. The rhythm game genre is no exception. Two indie developers have shown new ideas that turn the genre on its head. Because of how popular some of these independent titles can become, I wonder why sometimes we see mechanics or games that are similar to other games. This is where Zoo Corporation’s Beat Souls comes into play. Originally released in 2021, Beat Souls is a rhythm game that is currently out for most major platforms. When I first saw Beat Souls I was filled with excitement. It’s bright and colorful and I’m a huge fan of rhythm games. Honestly, Beat Souls surprised me in a lot of ways both good and bad, so let’s get into it.
Being a rhythm game, Beat Souls doesn’t have a story in the traditional sense. The story comes from the descriptions of the characters when you choose them. Beat Souls has one character unlocked from the start and then three other characters unlocked through gameplay progression. The general gameplay for each character stays the same, however, each individual has a special ability that can help the player obtain a higher score. As characters play the same it’s really what your preference is when it comes to their special. I used the character Mei for most of my time with the game because her special negates 5 points of damage.
Even though Beat Souls is a rhythm game it has a lot in common with a bullet hell shooter. The player must dodge obstacles while collecting Beat Souls with their Otomo companions in a high-speed environment. The player has five squares to move around and must maneuver in the best way that they can to catch the beat souls. Outside of the regular song arcade mode, there is an infinite hell mode where you take on another character to see how long you’ll last. If you take too much damage or miss too many notes then it’s game over.
The visuals for Beat Souls are vividly colorful and a pleasure to look at when you’re playing each song. If it is too bright or too visually noisy for you there are settings to reduce some of that visual noise and that I think is a step in the right direction for rhythm games. Unlike other rhythm games that have videos to go along with the songs, Beat Souls does not have any as you’re supposed to be focusing on the field of play during each song. I think this is fine because anything else that’s not on that vertical field would probably best be ignored by the player. I do think that one of the weaker points of this title is in its actual music selection.
While some tracks stood out, a lot of them sounded similar to others and made it a little boring to play, especially when you’re trying to unlock all of the songs for one character. Some patterns in the game didn’t always match up with the rhythm or beat of the music and it just seemed kind of random. This doesn’t happen all that often but it was very noticeable when it did. I don’t believe the game is very challenging. I was able to fully clear without taking damage or become very close upon the first playthrough of a song. Being able to almost fully clear a song kind of made me not want to not try it again, especially if I didn’t like the song. There are a total of 45 different tracks and Beats Souls so I’m sure there’s something that you’re going to like.
Beat Souls‘ base gameplay is eerily similar to another indie title called Everhood. The thing about Beats Souls is that it doesn’t necessarily have the staying power that EverHood had. The characters in Beat Souls (outside of their designs) are memorable, the song quality varies heavily and the lack of modes limit the replayability of this title. I don’t believe Beat Souls is a bad game. For its price of around $10 I do think you’ll get your money’s worth, however, I don’t believe it’s anything to go out of your way for. I think if Beat Souls was an actual arcade game that involved the player’s whole body that it would be a very fun experience! If you’re looking to kill a couple of hours with a rhythm game there are worse options out there than Beat Souls. Just don’t expect anything with staying power.
Beat Souls Review
Beat Souls Review
For $10 I do think you'll get your money's worth. If you're looking to kill a couple of hours with a rhythm game there are worse options. Just don't expect anything with staying power.