I love rhythm games, and played a whole lot of Guitar Hero and Rock Band growing up. It was a little sad when the Rock Band house party stopped being a thing, and while rhythm games might have fallen out of the eyes of the mainstream audiences, they’ve found a new life as the star of the show in virtual reality. Games like Beat Saber are go-to games for many to both show off what virtual reality is capable of—and in use as an exercise regimen. I’m always looking to add a new rhythm game to my line up, and God of Riffs looked exactly like the thing I wanted. Unfortunately, it has a little way to go before it will replace Beat Saber in my line up.
God of Riffs is a virtual reality rhythm game. In it, you play as a warrior fighting off hordes of skeletal warriors in fantastical settings. You wield two axes, one red and one blue, used to dispatch enemies of similar color. Sometimes enemies will emerge from their hell rifts glowing gold, and the only way to defeat them is to hit them with both axes. And unfortunately, that’s about as exciting as the gameplay gets. Red and blue enemies always spawn on their appropriate side, so you never have to worry about crossing your axes—and there are only two enemy types: a short skeleton that runs at you, and a flying skeleton that flies directly at you. And that’s it. While playing I kept wondering why the skeletons were all so short, but it makes it easy to bash them on the forehead to topple them over. Which is what it feels like: despite wielding axes, it feels like everything is being bludgeoned.
There have been some great rhythm game innovations in virtual reality, but sadly, God of Riffs is an underwhelming game. The most exciting mechanic was a bug: the axes were backwards for me, making it feel like I was using a sort of underhand weapon of some sort—very ninja feeling, but not exactly the feeling the developers were going for. In fact, the happy accident of my axes being upside down was perhaps the most fun I had with God of Riffs—and that was only because it was so unusual.
Right now in Early Access you have four tracks available, with four different levels to play in. Each track, strangely, only has two difficulty levels—despite there being a grayed-out option for a third. I would have really appreciated that third difficulty level, because God of Riffs is the most easy rhythm game I’ve ever played. In fact, it took little more than me vibrating my controllers towards the running skeleton warriors to dispatch them handily. Talk about disappointment.
God of Riffs is a disappointment. It’s entering into Early Access tomorrow, but I suggest you steer clear until more tracks are added, and the mechanics are refined. God of Riffs is still in development, and according to their Early Access info box the development is planned for the next 2-3 months—which I just don’t feel is enough time to add significantly more content and address its gameplay issues.
God of Riffs is available tomorrow in Early Access on Steam.
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