Developed by Neowiz MUCA Published by Neowiz MUCA Reviewed on PC
If you been in the rhythm games community for quite some time, you are probably familiar with Pentavision Studio’s action rhythm game series, DJMax. The series spans multiple titles from portable handheld games to full arcade cabinet games. With the success of the DJMax series, Neowiz (a division of Pentavision) released a DJMax spinoff game known as Tapsonic for iOS and Android back in 2011. Since Tapsonic has seen multiple sequels on mobile devices. With Tapsonic proving its not going away anytime soon, the fifth entry, Tapsonic Bold, has found its way to PC. How does to compare to the mobile titles?
Tapsonic Bold is a lane based rhythm based game where notes come flying down to the bottom of the screen across six lanes as you try to hit them in time with the rhythm of the song. One of the key factors I love about the controls is that you’re free to bind any key on the keyboard to suit your play style. Tapsonic Bold features 82 tracks featuring different types of genre ranging from hard rock to K-pop to pop to trance. Each song has different difficulty levels from easy, normal, hard, expert, and some even have challenges charts. There are original songs made for this version on top of classic songs from the DJMax, Tapsonic, and O2Jams series. The game’s modes include Solo Mode, Missions, and Arcade.
Tapsonic is a great experience on PC with solid gameplay. Making the jump to PC you would think that the developers would put more effort into the presentation but it falls flat. The game UI look plain and basic. Compared to previous entries such as Tapsonic World Top or Tapsonic World Champion, this version takes a step backwards presentation wise. As a PC exclusive game the lack of multiplayer modes is a glaring omission. A rhythm music game in 2019 should easily be capable of having a feature DJMax Respect did. There are online leaderboard to see where you stand against the community but there’s nothing like head to head competition. Tapsonic World Champion on mobile devices is capable of this, so it’s hard to see why Tapsonic Bold lacks this feature.
My major complaint about Tapsonic Bold is its gimmicky lane changes in the middle of songs. When I play song charts, I like it to be either 4 keys or 6 keys throughout the entire song. Some songs will have purple notes that will change the lane count in the middle of the song. I really find this annoying more than anything since it’s not fun switching from 4 keys to 6 keys on the fly in the middle of the song. Personally I like to just play one chart without gimmicky lane changes.
Another issue are the two different hold notes. There’s one hold note that is a solid line which is just fine and adds cool, smart patterns to the charts. The second hold note, which feels like it was brought from the mobile version, are the slide hold notes. Slide notes are hold notes that continue into another key. If you let go of the key in the middle of a slide note, it counts as a miss. I feel like the slide notes are out of place in this PC iteration. It makes way more sense on mobile where it’s much easier to maneuver your finger back and forth over a touchscreen buttons versus physical buttons.
Tapsonic Bold has a lot songs and tons of different song charts that are pretty challenging if you’re learning how to play. It has to be one the most rhythm games out there. You have to straight up stop playing a song to get a game over. I feel that they made the game a little too lenient when it comes to judging accuracy. For the most part the game’s timing is on point, making it easy to get perfects on notes hits. You have try just a little slightly harder for perfect plus notes. Missing a lot of notes doesn’t feel as punishing compared to other rhythm games like Beatmania IIDX, Guitar Hero or even Beat Saber.
Tapsonic Bold is a great experience on PC with solid gameplay and excellent game mechanics. Tapsonic Bold is totally worth the $20 price and is a top tier rhythm game on Steam. Most of the flaws stated in this review can be overlooked by casual rhythm game players who will likely have a wonderful time with the game. My hope is that the next Tapsonic games on PC will address issues such as the lack of multiplayer and the overly lenient note timing.