LOUD Review – Turn The Volume To 14 – GAMING TREND
Rhythm games have been around for a while now. DDR, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Elite Beat Agents, Beat Saber, the list goes on. Finding a fun, new and exciting rhythm game is not common. Well, LOUD combines rhythm games with a “Life is Strange” type narrative story to create a fully assembled game from start to finish.
The story chronicles Astrid’s journey, from playing guitar on her broomstick in her bedroom, to getting a guitar from her father, to rocking the stage later in life. It’s a sweet story of a young girl who gains the confidence to become a rock star, while experiencing the ups and downs of this lifestyle. Sometimes bands break up, sometimes friendships end, but if you really love the music, you’ll keep going and keep learning. The story is simple, offering a sweet and complete narrative, which I enjoyed. The story is told through snapshots of his life through Polaroids on his wall, while at the end of each section there is a small cutscene, usually stills with a narration on them, which explains what is happening. happens next or happened after a jump in time. It was a great way to show his story and stay in their theme throughout the game.
Gameplay-wise, I got back in control pretty quickly after the tutorial song. As someone who still plays a lot of rhythm games, I was able to go straight to the “Skillin'” level. “Chillin'” is easy, “Skillin'” is medium, and “Grindin'” is hard. In my experience, I only missed one song on “Skillin'” mode, while “Grindin'” gave me a hard time. I didn’t get S-level scores on many songs after the first four. There’s so much going on in grindin’ mode at once that it’s overwhelming at times, but the challenge was welcome for me personally. Although they’re really hard to play, I can really see myself going through each song and try to get the S level for each of them at this harder difficulty level.
Your primary buttons are up, left, and right on the D-Pad on the left Joy-Con, then X, A, and B for the right Joy-Con. They use three types of button inputs, normal presses, shuffle, and hold. They also have blue stars which are basically the “star power” of Guitar Hero/Rock Band. This setup worked brilliantly, there are only so many buttons and so many ways to try and put a rhythm game on a controller, but the team did a great job of mapping things out where they felt natural in my hands and I never felt like I “can’t” do anything.
Now let’s talk about the most important part of a rhythm game: the music. All songs are originals in the alternative pop-punk style. For me it was perfect. I love this genre as a whole, and they really put a lot of love into these tracks. There are no vocals, so the instruments are really in the foreground. There isn’t a single track that has irked me for playing twice trying to get S-Tier or trying a different difficulty. Most of the time when I made a mistake on my first song playback, it was because I started bobbing my head or dancing a bit, thus throwing off the placement of my hands. Each song was different enough that I never felt the music got tiresome. For anyone who grew up listening to the pop-punk scene or playing music in the pop-punk scene, there will be plenty of musically relatable moments throughout history.
Because I personally play so many rhythm games, I wanted to see what would happen if I let someone who doesn’t have as much experience in the genre play. So I asked two of my friends to play a level or two each. Both were at “Chillin” level and generally failed the first time, and passed the second time. One thing remained consistent though, they had fun. I had a lot of fun watching them move their heads to the beat of the music, even as they played the song again. Accessibility is so important when working with a new rhythm game. Can anyone pick it up and just play it, regardless of their background? And while LOUD can be a little challenging for beginners, the music and story keep new players engaged enough to keep playing.
One niggling little thing I had was that when you miss a note it kind of stops the song. Which could be part of the personality of the game. When you play something and you mess up and get frustrated, the song kind of stops. For me, it was no big deal. However, for both newbies to rhythm games, this is where both ended up failing the song. They screwed up and never got back on track afterwards. It’s such a small thing and it might not affect others, but it was something I felt needed some attention, especially if you’re new to the genre and considering picking it up . The punishment for a mistake seems a bit harsh from an audio point of view.
LOUD isn’t the longest game, recording between 2 and 6 hours depending on how many times you play the songs or if you choose to go back and get S-Tier for everything. But priced at $11.99 base and $8.99 at launch, you’ll get what you pay for. The game contains 14 original songs, a full story and feels like a complete experience. LOUD is a great time for beginners and experienced gamers alike to pace games.
LOUD first comes to Nintendo Switch on July 15, 2022, followed by PC, PlayStation, and Xbox later. The Switch version will be available on the Nintendo eShop for $11.99 but will initially launch 25% off at $8.99.
LOUD cranks up the volume to 14 with 14 original pop-punk tracks telling the story of Astrid going from playing guitar with a broom in her bedroom to rocking the stage years later. A wonderful game for beginners to rhythm-style games while offering a great challenge to those with experience in the genre. Priced at $11.99, it’s a must-have for anyone who loves pop-punk music.
Adam is a musician and gamer who loves his partner in crime, Regan, and their two pets Rey and Finn. Adam is a fan of Star Wars, NFL football, and gaming in general. Follow Adam on Twitter @TheRexTano.