Circle Ent. has been consistently publishing some of the most affordable and most engaging content to the Nintendo Switch eShop. Shortly after launch, the Nintendo Switch got its first great rhythm game in VOEZ. You can find our full review of VOEZ right here. More recently, Circle Ent. published a smaller, simpler rhythm game, which is a spin-off based on a mini-game in the Dark Witch series on 3DS. Say hello to Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical. For this miniature game with a miniature price-tag, we give you a miniature review.
In Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical, you'll take control of one of several characters featured in the Dark Witch games, each with their own attack animations, voice lines, and epilogue story should you complete the game with them. A pair of these characters are unlocked from the beginning of the game, and the rest have to be earned by performing well on songs and earning special gems.
Gameplay in Rudymical is pretty straight forward, and plays out as a kind of rhythm and fighting game hybrid. You'll stand across the stage from your opponent, who will hurl colored orbs your way to the rhythm of a particular song. Depending on the color of the orb, you'll press one of three face buttons on the Joy-Con right as it reaches your body, protecting yourself from harm while dealing damage to your enemy. Occasionally your opponent will hurl fireballs or lasers your way -- these can't be blocked, and must be avoided in time with the rhythm.
Those are the fundamentals, and they do not change. Destroying orbs and dodging obstacles to the beat will sustain you through the entire campaign. If the rhythm and gameplay mechanics don't sink their teeth into you at first, then it's likely that they won't later. I recommend checking out a trailer first. If it looks like fun, then for only $8, I can heartily recommend it. I've already spent several hours trying to gather all of the gems and unlock all of the characters, and I plan to spend several more in an attempt to post high scores to the more challenging tunes.
One small annoyance are the player and enemy voices. They chatter and shout throughout the entire song, with every action, and the voices can sometimes detract from the rhythm or distract you as you try to keep track of all of the orbs coming your way at various speeds. I found that once I went into the options and disabled voices altogether during play, the game really opened up to me and I was able to start tackling later stages at higher difficulties.
At the height of play, Rudymical will make you feel like a plate-spinning, multitasking genius. The only thing more exhilarating than watching six or seven orbs all flying or bouncing your direction at once is slashing through all of them with perfect timing to finally take out that one enemy who's been giving you so much trouble. At higher difficulties the challenge is an intimidating invitation to better yourself at best, and an insurmountable, punishing nightmare at worst. There are a few tunes on the highest difficulty that I can tell you with confidence that I'll never be able to clear, and I'm an avid rhythm game player.
For many of you that just means more incentive to keep coming back, and more replay value. "Value" really is the best word to describe this game. The music is catchy, the gameplay loop is tight and simple, completing the campaign yields more than a few surprises and extra challenges, and you can also play in competitive multiplayer and co-op modes.
For $7.99, Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical is a no-brainer for anyone looking for a charming rhythm game fix on the Nintendo Switch. After VOEZ and Kamiko proved to be strong contenders and top-earners, we dove into Rudymical with little hesitation, and our faith was rewarded. Check it out and start putting up those high scores.
WWG's Score: 4/5