Damn, I wish I liked this game more. Aesthetically it's on point, the OST is great pop music, and
there's an entire section in the game that's just that dril tweet that goes "strongest blade in the
world, howeve,r it is so fragile as to shatter when handled by any force other than the delicate
touch of a lesbian ."
Sadly, as a game, this falters in a lot of ways. The game has an uninterrupted narrative with
seamless transitions between areas, with an announcer telling you your score after each level
during downtime. Visually, each song ends with a period of anticipation for a second, so
obviously it's gonna just go into the next song immediately ri- hahahahahahahaha no you're
yanked out of the game into an obnoxious level select with about ten seconds of animations your
first time through. An actual, uninterrupted, seamless experience (like listening to an actual
album would be) is only possible on a replay.
And replay you will, because this game's note placement is really annoying! Obstacles will
obscure the highest-value items, the limited palette creates contrast issues in the busier stages,
and the frequent perspective changes create pleasing visuals but disorienting controls. Dying is
incredible forgiving, where you're sent back at most ten or fifteen seconds, with the only penalty
being that your combo will be reset - a death sentence for a gold medal. If the continues are
already this forgiving, why not just have the only penalty for getting hit be the score reset?
Note timing is incredibly uneven, with it sometimes aiding the visuals and score and other times
feeling slapped-on to fill in downtime between setpieces, which is really weird to me when this
game is already only an hour and fifteen minutes long.
This game's flaws stick out to me more because to me, rhythm gaming is all about the flow -
Thumper has these long levels with seamless transitions between smaller sections, only giving
your twitchy, aching thumbs respite after true survival. EBA is about hyperfocusing on specific
segments that're broken up. Sayonara is somewhere between, forcing you to focus on individual
segments that aren't that interesting to play on their own.
I really wish that this game had Album Arcade unlocked from the start or was just an animated
movie. As I already said, it's an hour-and-a-quarter long, and yet it feels choppier and ruins flow
more than games double and quadruple in length. I feel like I'm going against the grain of not only
my friends’ opinions but my own taste, but I just really think that the gameplay drags down what
could've been something really special.