Exclusive: The Nintendo Switch Provides A Pulse for Rhythm Doctor

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The Nintendo Switch is grows another rhythm-based Indie game, as 7th Beat Games announces that they’re bringing Rhythm Doctor to Nintendo Switch sometime later in 2018. As we reported during our original write up on Rhythm Doctor, the game consists of a one-button rhythm game that aims to teach complex music and rhythm theory with inspiration taken from Rhythm Heaven. Players will be hitting their spacebar (or various Nintendo Switch controls) on the seventh beat to save patients in a hospital. But every level has a twist on that concept: in the trailer for example, a virus is messing up your connection, leading to glitchstep music, and you have to keep the count to 7 in your head. Each level is based on a different complex concept in music theory: irregular time signatures, hemiolas, polyrhythms, etc, but no musical theory knowledge is required to be able to play.

We spoke with Hafiz Azman, the Creator/Lead Designer/Composer for Rhythm Doctor on what makes the game so unique, and what it has in store for beginner and veteran rhythm game players.

We designed the game looking very closely at what most other rhythm games were doing and then going in the opposite direction. What we ended up with was inspired by Rhythm Heaven’s philosophy. Rhythm Heaven is a game series by Nintendo that removes three aspects that are usually vital to making challenging rhythm games: many possible inputs, a high note density (or keys per second, KPS), and a unique control gimmick” Says Azman, “So our game explores further into those concepts of simple inputs, interesting note cues, and internal rhythm. For a lot of it we decide to make music and level designs that would not work in vertical scrolling-type rhythm games at all.

Today, the team announced a Nintendo Switch version that is planned to release in 2018, adding to the consoles insane rhythm-game lineup. Azman said while PC and Nintendo Switch are their two big targets, just being able to develop on a Nintendo console, the home of Rhythm Heaven, is a real honour! They’ll also looking at mobile later down the line. The whole dev team of 7th Beat Games are fans of the rhythm-genre, which is is amazing. Azman says the team is fans of games like Rhythm Heaven that play with interesting mechanics while keeping rhythm as the main gameplay (so less hybrid games like Crypt of the Necrodancer and more Elite Beat Agents / Ouendan, Parappa The Rapper).

Regarding difficulties in development with such a unique and precise timing window? Azman says “Making a rhythm engine to support very precise timing was a good challenge that took several restarts and a good hundred hours. It was important we get the rhythm engine working precisely right for this kind of game of course.

“Making a full-featured level editor has been quite a challenge too, so has dealing with an increased scope since our Flash prototype. There are a lot of challenges when making a game 5x as big, that go beyond just 5x as much coding/graphics/music. Things like optimization and budgeting come into play, and your code has to be more organised, otherwise adding a simple feature will start to take longer and longer, like adding one more brick to an unstable brick tower.” Azman also states that for now, only the PC/Mac version of Rhythm Doctor is planned to have a custom Level Editor. We’ll just have to see closer to release what the Switch version will have in place for that.

Don’t worry, we’ll be keeping up with the Doctor as we get closer to release! In the meantime before visits, check out the demo now available on site!