Audio and visuals working in tandem within a game is quite the marvelous thing. There’s something incredibly satisfying and unique when a gaming experience reaches out to not only visual senses, but aural ones, as well. Though unique gameplay can be a byproduct of such artistic endeavors, a memorable experience can surface as well. Inside My Radio aims to blend the two sensory art forms into one game – in a not-so-subtle way – while attempting to stay approachable to a larger range of gamers. So, is the title a memorable experience shared between audio and visual delight, or nothing more than a gimmick?
As far as visuals go, Inside My Radio isn’t anything too flashy, but it’s nicely done nonetheless – there is nice color usage, backgrounds, and fun character designs. The protagonist – along with the various characters met along the way – is a block that moves; yours is a dubstep-listening, mischievous-faced, green go-getter pulled into a boombox from the outside world. Though very simple, I very much enjoyed the character designs throughout, as they all utilize different colors, attire, and facial expressions to reflect their specific music genre. For instance, the first character you meet is heavily influenced by disco-inspired music, so he sports shades, has a very relaxed facial expression to show he is just there to have a good time, and is a brightly colored orange. Each character (both allies and enemies) are nicely done with a well-used color palette. In short, the colors used are both well placed and cover a fairly large spectrum without feeling over-used.
The environments, though the foregrounds are typically a silhouette and somewhat bland, are nicely done, as well. Each character ventures through a level incorporating their genre of music, and I found them all quite delightful. These visuals combine with audio cues to intertwine with gameplay, creating a fun overall experience between all aspects. Since this game is, you know, centered around music, it’s a good thing the audio and compositions are fun, catchy, and enjoyable. Each character and stage offers new sounds and audio cues to compliment the gameplay, which is based around jumping, attacking, and dashing on the beat.
The gameplay is what really sets Inside My Radio apart: the player must do any action, aside from basic movement left and right, on the beat. It adds challenge and a unique nature to what would otherwise be a fairly bland platforming title. The player must perform an action on the beat, typically in a 4/4 time signature, and can utilize any one of the beats within each measure. Jump, dash/attack, and perform other actions in time to progress further in each level. At first, this is a simple task; the brief tutorial sections do a good job of walking the player through the mechanics and any additional actions to discover along the way. As the player progresses, the challenges begin to get more difficult, requiring precise timing to not only begin a chain of actions but to continue performing them within the beat of the level. Having to jump from wall to wall, then dash forward and avoid deadly spikes in a narrow pathway, to do a “butt stomp” onto an enemy is difficult, but when trying to do it in time? Yeah, then it gets fun. Nothing ever felt like cheap difficulty, though. Skills get improved as more challenges are presented, and it does feel pretty nifty when completing; in fact, you may even do a little dance along with the music (don’t judge!)
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, why would I play this game if I have no rhythm whatsoever?” The folks over at Seaven Studio have you covered – they add the option for help, bringing up dots above and below the main protagonist to time your actions. This essentially moves the focus more to the visual side of the game, yet, it still manages to hold onto its unique music-driven foundation. It all works extremely well and is quite an enjoyable experience throughout. My only complaint is that the gameplay did get a little boring at times; there were sections of the game where I found myself simply wanting to move onto the next area just to see what would be next. Thankfully, there are fun little mini-games (of sorts) that break up the general platforming, which would suck me right back into the game. An example of this is a dance off earlier in the game where the character you have taken control of (the disco-square I spoke about earlier in this review) gets challenged by a punk rock-loving troublemaker. This dance off requires the player to press specified buttons on time, matching what the punk does first. These simple sections are fun and help make the gameplay flow a little better. These little musical puzzles and mini-games were some of my favorite moments in the game. That, and some fun easter eggs that I did not expect (if you want to know what I’m speaking about, see here).
Is Inside My Radio fun? Though a little redundant at times, it definitely is; general platforming is enhanced thanks to the dedication to stay focused on aural incorporation, rather than just inclusion. Is it a gimmick? Well, yes, but it is one that I enjoyed throughout my play-through of the title. The colorful characters (both literal and figurative), and the lovely mix of audio and gameplay propel this game into a recommendation from me. If you’re into audio-driven games and platformers, you may find this game to be worth your time.
A review code was provided for this title.