By: Matthew Striplen
Everyone loves the radio, so what do you do when your favorite station comes under attack? Fight right back, of course! RadioHammer puts you in the shoes of several DJs who must smash their way through hordes of enemies, in rhythm no less!
RadioHammer offers tons of ways to play the game. Players are free to use the d-pad, touchscreen, or the B/X/Y buttons. Also, all the input methods are always live, so feel free to switch it up on the fly. The controls are super responsive, which is very important in rhythm games.
RadioHammer‘s set up is obviously reminiscent of the granddaddy of all rhythm games, Dance Dance Revolution, but with a few twists. Instead of arrows moving toward a strike zone, various enemies charge down the track to attack you. These range from aliens, to zombies, to… perverts, which makes me wonder what audience this game is targeting. Almost everything else could be rated PG or less, but the perverts open their trench coats to flash you if you miss them.
That being said, one of the best strengths of the game is the variation of the enemies. Depending on the rhythm, different types of zombies, perverts, etc. will attack. This additional visual aid helps in predicting what move needs to come next.
Graphic quality remains high throughout the entire game. Colorful, varied environments assure your eyes won’t get bored, but they also won’t distract from the important action.
Unfortunately, RadioHammer‘s music doesn’t come across as well as it graphics. This is especially disappointing as music plays a crucial role in the entire game. Although each DJ has a distinct style, most tracks end up blending together and sounding like elevator music.
Rhythm games require engaging music to be enjoyable, and RadioHammer‘s underwhelming playlist made me lose interest fast.
As with many music games, it’s hard to avoid comparisons with Dance Dance Revolution; this time, however, the similarities are a bit too numerous. The biggest difference is that RadioHammer‘s enemies have only two tracks to approach from, and DDR uses arrows that can point in all four directions.
In addition, RadioHammer also has a “gift” system. Presents will sporadically appear behind the DJ, but not all presents are good. Good presents fill a super meter, while bad ones deplete it. Once filled, the super meter makes every hit an automatic “perfect” for a limited period of time.
In regards to difficulty, most of the game lacks any real challenge. The rhythms stay simple for too long and offers few chances for players to test themselves. Other games in the genre feature multiple difficulty levels, but RadioHammer forces players to beat every stage in a particular difficulty setting before unlocking the next one. Although younger players or newcomers to the genre probably won’t notice, veterans may become frustrated.
RadioHammer‘s gameplay is split into a story mode, track select and random play. Story mode makes up the meat and potatoes of the game. Players must guide each DJ through three episodes of five stages, including a boss battle.
The DJs each have a story, but they have absolutely no impact on the gameplay and are so brief that it scarcely counts. The difficulty slowly creeps up from stage to stage, but the biggest differences can be seen between DJs. The boss battles are by far the most exciting. There’s nothing quite like seeing a gigantic rock star rise up to challenge you.
However, the individual stages don’t have as much to offer. Players are frequently forced to replay songs they’ve already cleared. After completing each stage or boss battle, the player’s performance is graded on specific criteria and points after which a set amount of stars are awarded. Getting all three stars isn’t particularly hard, but doing so unlocks a few extra goodies.
Beating stages also unlocks “Another Mode,” which reduces the number of enemy lanes to one but makes the enemies run very quickly. This doesn’t really add much to the game, as the difficulty of having faster enemies is counteracted by only having one lane.
Track select lets players choose a difficulty and any DJ, provided you unlock them first. Random lets you choose the track and difficulty, but not the DJ. If you’re feeling adventurous, try Shuffle, which randomly chooses tracks and difficulty levels. If you get tired of playing, feel free to relax to the tunes of the game in Jukebox Mode.
Although RadioHammer offers a few hours of fun, it lacks the spark to set itself apart from the multitude of music games that preceded it. The concept of smacking enemies with a giant hammer instead of pressing arrows is novel, but it lacks the substance to make the game special. If you’re new to the genre, RadioHammer provides a decent experience, but it’s hard to recommend it over the classics.