Born from an idea from TurboDindon, at the Ludum Dare #23 Game Jam, Inside My Radio is a rhythm-action platform adventure, where your every move much match the beat of the music.
Playing as three different LEDs, it is up to you to bring the music back to a worn out boombox, whilst having to face tricky platforming puzzles, and beat musically masterful bosses, using the power of dub, rock, reggae and more.
When I first booted up Inside My Radio, made my way through the tutorial, and set off on my musical adventure, I wasn’t too sure of what I had to do. The controls themselves are fairly straightforward, however the story really doesn’t stand out for me. I knew I had to make my way through these levels, and that I had to match my movements with the beat of the music, but I wasn’t entirely sure why.
Hoping this would become clearer the longer I played, I battled on in my bewildered state and eventually started to enjoy myself. Now, I’m not saying this isn’t enjoyable, however, it can be tricky to match your movements to the rhythm, especially after playing numerous platformers where fast reactions and maneuverability were key. Thankfully there is an option to activate a visual guide around the LED, to help match your movements with the beat, which helped somewhat in later levels.
Some would call me rhythmically challenged, however once you get the hang of working with the beat, it actually became less frustrating, and I found that later in the game I was actually enjoying it. I did find that at times Inside My Radio couldn’t decide on which mechanic it wanted to work with. For example, the first boss you encounter requires you to follow the music via a short mini-game, very similar to Guitar Hero or Rock Band, following the button presses as they fall down the screen. The second boss was more of a Simon Says mini-game, much like Parappa the Rapper, which you could only beat by matching the buttons as they moved across the bottom of the screen. This felt somewhat unnatural to me, someone who has played numerous platformers in my time, where each boss battle had the same base mechanic, and increased in difficulty and complexity with each subsequent encounter. However, neither of these boss battles taught me how I should approach the final boss, except to reinforce that your every move is reliant on the music.
Inside My Radio ups the tempo around the halfway mark, and introduces more puzzles and tricky sections to each level. One in particular featured lasers, which required beat-perfect timing to avoid, and another required you to control sliders to maneuver your way around obstacles in your path. Each mini puzzle allowed me to slow my tempo, and really think about how I should be timing my movements to the beat.
The music itself is fantastic, and really helps to draw you into the action on the screen. Each level is set around a different genre, taking you through rock, reggae, dub-step, and variations between. The soundtrack is rich and captivating, and is something I would happily listen to outside of the game. Along with the unique soundtrack, each level has its own distinctive style, marrying beautifully with the music guiding you through each challenge. The base structure of each level is visibly the same, but the background and small details littered throughout each one really gives them their own identity. One in particular which stands out was the disco level, which was full of bright colours, pulsating lights, and really gave you the feeling that you were travelling through a club environment. Each level is just as rich and colourful as the last, and reflects each genre perfectly.
In all, Inside My Radio only took around 2 to 2.5 hours to complete, including multiple replays of the final boss fight. It does offer a Time Attack mode to extend the life of the game, splitting up the main campaign into 12 individual levels, but I feel this could get stale rather quickly.
If you enjoy rhythm-based games, and want a platformer which offers a different perspective on the tried and tested formula, I would recommend Inside My Radio. It’s a great title to sit back and relax with, but don’t expect to spend hours on the main campaign.
Inside My Radio is available now for £11.99 on Xbox One and PC via Steam.
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Thanks to Xbox and Seaven Studio for their support.