Do you remember when you first picked up a racing game and moved with the car yourself? Not content with simply moving your thumb to change direction, you’d turn your whole body to express, and possible accelerate the turn. Of course it wasn’t just racing games that made you physically swerve (and no I’m not talking about Just Dance or other games that required it), from dodging flying barrels in Far Cry to shrinking up quietly in Alien, everyone is physically effected by the games they play. Hell, I even found myself tilting with each button when I first started Guitar Hero.
It’s not something you just do in your younger years, it’s just much harder to suppress. And Cosmophony is insuppressable. It’s a music rhythm game that will have you dodging and weaving as you desperately hurtle towards the end of level.
Taking a page from the intense Super Hexagon side of things, rather than the more causal Sound Shapes experience, Cosmophony tasks players with taking control over the universe by racing down halfpipes and avoid the ever looming deadly rectangles. It’s a game that looks identical to thousands of free to play flash games scattered across the internet, with its minimalist style of stark whites and bright, contrasting colours.
There is something extremely, almost worryingly hypnotic about the make-up of the game, to the point that game historians might be concerned that they’ve stumbled across the infamous Polybius. The graphics impressively draw you in, while the rhythmic music keeps you enthralled and the gameplay keeps you focused. A seconds distraction will cost you dearly, to the point where blinking will feel like the actions of a daredevil.
What is hard to grasp about Cosmophony is how deceptively short it appears to be. This game, filled with mesmerizing, addictive gameplay is only five levels long. But you won’t notice that, because each level will simultaneously feel like a lifetime and a few seconds each. Although in total a completed level lasts no longer than a few minutes, each fail, which is only one mistake away will draw you right back to the beginning each time. Cosmophony is a game that requires a mixtures of patience and memory, as failure is assured and can only be overcome by remembering your mistakes.
Each level also features a practice mode, which the game will encourage you to use if you fail a few times. Practice has the godsend of checkpoints, which aren’t included in the normal game type, and is used to memorise the trickier sections of any given level.
The fact there are only five levels might seem a little on the light side, but the sheer difference in the levels, as well different tone and vibe of the music make each level feel more separate than half the other games available. Each level has a distinctive colour, and its only unique element that prevents you coasting from one to the other. While the red level is the first true experience of what to expect, the green level introduces uncontrollable speed boosts. The blue level has obcastles that home in to whichever track you’re one, while the five level is a mysterious, as I never managed to conquer the previous one. And that’s because however helpful the practice mode is, you won’t unlock the next level until you finish the former on normal mode.
The challenge is quite satisfying. Because the skill basically boils down to direction time to reaction time, everyone can eventually finish each and every level. You’ll find yourself slipping into a rhythmic pattern while you try and conquer a tricky section; but be warned that this can become a trap the second you master that first challenge. Suddenly you’ll feel your heart kick into high gear as you race through the hereto unseen dangers ahead. You’ll be desperate to finish and not become trapped in the next area, but that is rarely the case. But it is all doable. Cosmophony feels so simple that you will be fooled into playing the ‘one more try’ game that is amazingly easy to fall into.
This game, with its itchy finger action and entrancing music is a very nice addition to the genre. Although it doesn’t add much new, it does build and borrow on an already well trodden mechanic. Cosmophony is a impressive game. Though you’ll find yourself repeating the same section over and over again, the intensity you’ll feel racing through an unexplored section is overwhelming. It brings in some playful music that doesn’t grate after a dozen attempts on the same level which is useful. If you’re looking for a music game on the current generation that fits more with Super Hexagon than Sound Shapes look no further, and never play this game on any kind of hallucinogenic drugs.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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