[Beyond PlayStation] Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical Review
Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical is a spin-off from the Dark Witch action platforming series which we have enjoyed before on the Nintendo 3DS. As you can tell from its name, it’s a musical type of game where you must use the buttons to slash at the colored spheres called Boing-Boing which are thrown your way, not to mention you’ll also need to jump out of the way of fireballs or lasers. Read our Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical to learn more!
As for the controls, I’ll talk about them as if playing in portable mode or with the Joy-Con Grip. You slash at green spheres with the Y button, slash blue spheres with the X button, and slash at red spheres with the A button. You can jump either with the B button or by pressing up on the left analog stick. The better you do on a stage, the better your rank. Lowest rank for a stage is a C rank. If you manage to hit an A rank, an S rank or a S+ rank, you’ll get a Syega added to your collection. Syega are used to unlock new characters, so if you want to 100% the game, you need to aim for at least an A rank for each stage.
There are four difficulty ratings to choose from: Easy, Normal, Hard and Lunatic. The higher you go in difficulty, the more sphere types and hazards you’ll need to face. For Easy, all you have to worry about are red spheres. In Normal, blue spheres, fireballs and lasers are added. Hard keeps the same number of things to juggle, but adds more of them. Finally, in Lunatic, you’ll need to deal with red spheres, blue spheres, green spheres, fireballs, and lasers… and lots of them! Lunatic is only available after you finish the game once – this is the game’s way of making sure you get the basics down before you dive into the deep end.
The game includes a single player Story Mode where a narrator will take explain how Syega work and why they’re very important. Since Syega are extremely powerful gems, it was only a matter of time before evil stepped into the picture. The Germa empire in the East continent started to round up the best researches in the world to conduct some valuable research in the field. Unfortunately, this means that anyone who stands in its way will be in big, big trouble. A special group called Ich basically acts as the enforcement branch of Germa, making sure that no country dare stand against the Germa empire.
In the brink of war, players take control of Zizou and Sola (and other characters as they are unlocked with the Syega crystals you collect), and then set out to complete a series of boss fights to advance story mode. After you defeat all bosses, you’ll get a cutscene for the ending of the character you selected, and that’s that. There’s not much story between the initial cutscene and the ending, which is how a lot of games used to handle things way back in the day.
Each battle is a handful of minutes long (shorter or longer by a few minutes based on skill), and asks that you keep a beat and destroy the Boing-Boing thrown your way. Every sphere you destroy will damage your enemy, but every one you miss will damage you. Every now and then you’ll get a heart item that will replenish some of your health, so don’t worry if you miss a few spheres. Empty the boss’ HP bar, and you’ll win the battle.
I suggest you start with the Easy difficulty so that you can get the hang of things, and then replay the battle by increasing the difficulty level one bump at a time. This will let you get the timing right for each of the three types of spheres and the two types of hazards so that you can have a better shot at completing the game on the highest difficulty in a single go. Each of the bosses has a star rating that will let you know how hard of a fight you’ll be facing, and these go up considerably as you increase the difficulty rating.
You’ll first be up against eight bosses, but after you defeat all of them four new bosses will join the battle select screen. They’re of a higher base difficulty, and will thus get a considerably bump in stars when you go to a higher difficulty setting. And after that set of four bosses, you’ll get to fight the main boss of the game, who is actually a two-part battle. The boss battles sorta mimic what each boss does in the main Dark Witch series, as the Boing-Boing they send your way are based on their attack patterns from the main series, set to the beat of the stage’s song.
There’s also a 2P player mode where each player uses one of the Joy-Con to battle. Both play on a single screen in split-screen mode, slashing the Boing-Boing sent your way to do some damage. You both have a single HP bar that moves in a way similar to a tug-o-war battle, so the better you do, the more damage you deal against your enemy. It’s a fun bonus mode for when you have someone else around who is up for a music rhythm game.
Overall, Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical is a fun spin-off in an arcade-style package. A single run will probably take you less than an hour in Easy difficulty, but you’ll certainly spend more time learning the patterns of the bosses at higher difficulty ratings. A bit of trial and error and some patience goes a long way as you improve your reaction time and skills. Being able to play at home or on the go is always the best feature of all Switch releases, which is always great for arcade releases like this one.
This Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Flyhigh Works.