Rhythm Doctor is an indie title that has been taking shape over the course of 2017, and its simple approach coupled with demanding accuracy will give gamers a taste of classic-inspired rhythm gaming this year.

Rhythm Doctor draws parallels to a series such as Rhythm Tengoku – players are merely tasked with hitting the space bar on their keyboard, but the game is constantly changing the timing and stimuli surrounding this feat that is simple at face value. The title does plenty to etch its own identity, though, with 7th Beat Games enriching the experience with  stylized pixel graphics, a variety of music types and clever game modifications that may ultimately fit the game’s billing of “the hardest one-button rhythm game you will ever play.”

A browser demo is available for play at the official Rhythm Doctor web site, and the game has recently been making rounds at gaming events. Thanks to 7th Beat Games, we recently had a chance to experience the developer’s convention build, and so far the game is as gripping as videos shared online suggest.

The build offers four of the game’s planned segments, ranging in difficulty from normal to hardest. Again, playing the game amounts to only hitting the space bar on cue, but Rhythm Doctor does plenty in an attempt to throw players off from being able to hit the key on beat seven. Across the different gameplay segments, players will need to stay on rhythm to avoid losing their performance meter. Once this meter empties, the player fails the segment and they will have to give it another go. Most of these segments involve battling a patient’s ailment and protecting their vitals through the course of a song.

The playable build throws in a touted segment that tasks players with keeping tabs on multiple people through the course of a vocalized acoustic performance. Players still need to hit the space bar on beat seven, but as multiple people chime into the song, their indicators kick in on different beats, requiring much multitasking to make sure the song plays through to completion.

As players use the technology in the game, there are a number of very cool visualizations presented, including the samurai shown in a number of the game’s promotions. Despite the need to focus on timing, the game still puts presentation on the forefront, allowing players to soak in the great visuals and music presented thus far.

The crazy presentation effects also provide the game’s challenges, as the various ailments mess with the player’s medical equipment, presenting audible and visual feedback that try to thwart the player’s ability to keep their timing. Distorted audio, flashing graphics and general presentation madness await players, piling on the challenge, and, honestly, making Rhythm Doctor a fun and intriguing title.

Some of the game’s presentation distortions make the title almost as much fun to watch as it is play, as shown by convention footage shared on social media. I toggled the game to its windowed mode, and the second segment had my game window moving around on the screen and even off the screen in an attempt to get me off track. The full game is on path to throw a variety of sensory roadblocks at the player, and it’s on track to surprising rhythm game players looking for a new challenge.

Rhythm Doctor has a placeholder site on Steam, so users of the format are able to add it to their game wishlist now. According to the Steam page, the title is still marked for a “2018” release, but we’ll be certain to update readers once more information on the title surfaces.

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A professional writer who has been involved in video games writing for nearly a decade. From handwritten fanzines as a kid to growing up and writing for a number of online sources, I have at least slightly dabbled into nearly every aspect of independent video gaming. Rhythm and fighting games are my jam, and I use my free time to organize events that promote positive gaming.