a rhythm shooter brimming with summertime goodness

If you’ve been looking out the window for the past few days, you may have noticed that a particularly gloomy winter is coming to an end. We don’t know how long our good weather will last, but as if feeling the transition to brighter seasons, enter sound drop.

A fiery rhythm game, sound drop is an isometric shooter that asks players to bounce through each level to the beat of a song. Although not as hardcore as Crypt of the Necrodancer – your movement isn’t locked to the beat – you have to shoot, dash and swing to the beat of the song that accompanies each level. Along the way, you’re harassed by creatures from Discord (not that one) – monsters who want nothing more than to see you miss a step. It’s a bit like Diablobut with all of Blizzard’s bloody satanic imagery replaced with throwaway Paramore and Blondie references.

First of all, sound drop starts out nice and easy: in the tutorial, you’ll get to grips with the game as you play along to one of the most relaxing orchestral pieces in the game. Enemies are in no rush to catch you and crumble into a few hot pink explosions.

sound drop. Credit: Drastic Games.

Once the tutorial is checked, sound drop turn up the sound. In the next level, you’re still wandering through lush green pastures, but this time you’re moving to the beat of an infectious bop called “Fly Fly Fly”. Later areas of the Skylands Color Zone are also accompanied by light and breezy melodies that prove to be infectious. In the first act, sound drop Radiates Summer Vibes: Filled with bouncy club ballads and radio-friendly cheers, you don’t just feel like you’re blasting your way through a video game; it’s like cool night air blowing through your pub-bound cab, a loudspeaker playing from someone else’s garden, and a million other summery things. sound dropThe music curation of knows exactly what it wants to deliver, and the fact that it works is a great testament to the fluidity sound dropThe soundtrack of mingles with combat.

In later levels, sound drop shows he’s not afraid to test the waters with different genres. One particular level involves making your way through a volcano, dodging cascading lava to the beat of pounding drums and hard-hitting guitar riffs. A meganeko and FantomenK track, “are you okay?”, transforms an area – a quick sprint through a rich Cyberpunk-y purple zone – into something that feels heavily inspired by sonic the hedgehog.

sound drop.  Credit: Drastic Games.
sound drop. Credit: Drastic Games.

With higher BPM songs, sound drop becomes quite more intense. The final level of the preview – an EDM-fueled nightmare with Discord minions terrorizing every inch of the screen – felt more like high-intensity Osu trail than a casual shooter. Faster BPM is not the only tool that sound drop uses to amp up the challenge – areas like the one we just mentioned will sometimes decide to flood you with bad guys, but there are also different types of Discord that want to halt your progress. Snipers will take a while to hit you hard, but a well-timed dodge can get you out of harm’s way. Meanwhile, some of the bigger beasts will instead choose to throw their gargantuan weight at you or send you flying with a shockwave – but again, dashing in at the right time can buy you a few extra seconds to fight back.

Most enemies have their own rhythm that you can play around with – the attacks are telegraphed nicely, but staying tuned to that beat while staying in time with each level’s song adds an extra level of difficulty to hone in on. get used to. sound dropThe lighter levels are still a lot of fun, but the harder levels get your heart pumping to the beat in a way that makes it that much more compelling. The first act eventually drops a few more tools to get you through sound drop in one piece, and adding them to the mix goes a long way to making every rowdy skirmish more enjoyable.

sound drop.  Credit: Drastic Games.
sound drop. Credit: Drastic Games.

There are many praises to sing for sound drop, but maybe it could do with a bit more interactivity on the gameplay side. Without risking sound drop getting monstrously complicated, it might add a few more options for combat – in the preview, weapons expanded to a melee attack, a ranged attack, and an ultimate ability. Even when things got tough, sound drop could have been even more engaging by spicing up the fight – although only the first act was included in the preview, there’s every chance that sound drop has many hidden abilities in the full game.

Along the same lines, although sound drop has options to customize your loadout, the preview’s limited gear didn’t feel like it influenced anything beyond a damage rating. Again, this may be something that shows up later in the game – the trailer below certainly seems to suggest this – but the condition of the gear in the preview was slightly disappointing.

Despite these fairly minor qualms, it’s a lot of fun to play sound drop – when I reached the end of my preview, I couldn’t help but go back and replay some of the levels I had already cleared. There’s an irresistible rhythm to trying to get through a level in the space of a song, and some of the loading screen hints promise all sorts of genres further into the game. From a little preview, sound drop promises to be a snappy rhythm shooter that gives off good vibes – but hopefully it adds a bit more variety later in the game.

sound drop Set to launch on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, PS4, and Xbox Series X|S in Spring 2022.

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