The golden era of rhythm gaming has come and gone in the blink of an eye. We witnessed the rise and fall of the mainstream rhythm game, bringing plastic instruments, and light up arrows into our hearts and homes. But as they say, all good things must come to an end. Years went on and the mainstream grew tired of the rhythm game formula.  The market quickly grew saturated with cheap knockoffs or quick cash ins.  While the hardcore rhythm gamers appetite for more remains insatiable, the mainstream has grown increasingly skeptical. Developers have had to dive deep to find a new twist on the seemingly stale formula.  One approach we’ve seen in the genre has been mashups and crossovers. The Metronomicon: Slay the Dance Floor is yet another forray into the crossover experiment.

The Metronomicon: Slay the Dance Floor blends arrow tapping gameplay with RPG strategy and battle. When starting up you’ll be presented with a basic story line complete with partially animated screens and an introduction to our heroes.  The visuals are somewhat of a mixed bag.  Some of the art and animation is charming and fun, where other aspects just come off as low budget or cheesy. This neither makes or breaks the game however. After the brief introduction we’re taught how to play. Your party of 4 is deployed and pitted against the enemy or enemies depending.  Each character has a track with arrows streaming, which is extremely reminiscent of Dance Dance Revolution.  In order to successfully carry out a “turn”, you must hit a successful stream of notes until reaching the arrow set to deploy your move. Each character has a class that serves a specific purpose. You have various classes such as a medic or a mage. Similar to other RPGs your characters and parties can be customized in various ways.  Whether that be swapping party members out or equipping new gear. As you progress through the story and complete different challenges you will unlock various upgrades and loot.

So is The Metronomicon: Slay the Dance Floor a success in its ambitious mashup? Yes and no. On one hand for RPG junkies, the sense of progression is noticeable.  With higher levels comes new gear and new abilities.  These will help you in your quest to top the leaderboards. It also adds new layers or motivation to replay songs and complete challenges rather than just mindlessly mastering the same song over and over. Overall the RPG aspect is only a solid addition for me, but definitely not a game changer. This element is necessary for the game to survive, which brings me to my next point and it’s a big one, the rhythm aspect. The Rhythm portion of this game is the heart and soul of this game. The RPG elements are merely there to add a new purpose or goal to the rhythm aspect.  As mentioned above at its core the game is essentially Dance Dance Revolution with a tiny pinch of amplitude given the track changing. They even have the visual modifiers such as “sudden” or “hidden” in the form of status ailments from different attacks.

While it can be fun mixing in the RPG strategy of how to unleash your attacks and in what order to take care of the different tracks, I simply found it as a cover up for a fairly surface level arrow mashing game. The music list is passable.  There is a nice spread of genres covered in the song list, but outside of a handful of tracks, I found the songlist mostly forgettable. On top of that Rhythm games are all about the charts. The patterns seemed basic and almost without purpose. Given that the game was split between two genres it seemed to show to me that they had to spread out their efforts over the various different elements of the game. On top of the charts being mostly standard, I didn’t feel the same desire to improve my skill level and attack those full combos. Instead the way to grind out high scores here is to get better gear and strategize around your party. That’s not to say there isn’t progression of skill.  The problem is if you’re a veteran of the genre it should be pretty simple to pick up and master from the start.  The timing is extremely generous and there is no real discrimination in terms of how accurate you were. If, however this is your first time with this particular there are 3 difficulties from easy to hard, although I would strongly recommend looking elsewhere as a starter in this field.

Ultimately I feel like there is enough here to warrant checking out. The game really is a sum of it’s parts. Individually nothing really stands out- the visuals are nothing to write home about, the RPG elements are just OK, and the rhythm portion is extremely basic. Despite all of this it can be fun chasing the top of the leader boards and seeing what the progression of your characters will bring next. Even though the RPG element is seemingly here to cover up a lackluster rhythm game, the combination works to make a passable experience.

Review: The Metronomicon: Slay the Dance Floor (PS4)
As a site Contributor, Mike has been playing rhythm games for over a decade and doesn't plan on stopping regardless of knee issues. A pop'n music player that can also sing you lyrics for Baroque Hoedown and Manhattan Sports Club in full.