Friday, 19 Jul 2024

Amplitude Review: A Nostalgic Revival of a Classic Music Game

If you’re a fan of music games, you may remember Harmonix’s pre-Guitar Hero efforts that helped shape the genre. Two games in particular, Frequency and Amplitude, paved the way for the music game phenomenon we know today. Now, thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014, Amplitude has made a comeback, bringing back the original style and gameplay that fans have been longing for. But does it live up to the magic of the original?

Engaging Gameplay and Addictive Mechanics

From a gameplay perspective, Amplitude delivers an exhilarating experience. The game challenges players to hit musical notes across multiple tracks, such as vocals, drums, or synth, creating a streak of unbroken notes. Unlike most modern music games, where you lose a track through failure, Amplitude’s gameplay is additive. As you layer in new aspects of the mix, you feel like you’re creating your own personal mixtape. Switching between instruments adds a frantic and exciting element to the music, keeping you on your toes as you make rapid-fire decisions to keep your streak alive. The combination of psychedelic background imagery and thumping electric beats immerses you in the flow of the game.

A Soundtrack That Hits the Right Notes

While the gameplay shines, some players may find themselves disappointed with the music selection. The original Amplitude was known for its diverse mix of sound and genre styles, but this entry feels less varied. The concept-album campaign, which loosely tells the story of awakening a comatose woman, features mostly Harmonix-authored songs that lack distinctiveness. They heavily rely on heavy drum and bass parts, pushing the boundaries of eclecticism. Although these songs aren’t bad, they lack the catchy hooks that invite endless replayability, which was a hallmark of the original Amplitude. However, there are a few standout tracks in the separate Quickplay catalog that capture the audio aesthetic and exude infectious energy, such as Freezepop’s “Phantoms,” Ingrid Lukas’ smooth and sexy “Muze,” and the remixed version of Symbion Project’s “Synthesized.”

Unlocking Songs and Progression Challenges

Most of the 30 songs in Amplitude unlock through persistent play, which adds a sense of accomplishment and progression to the game. However, there is one drawback. To unlock some of the best songs, players are required to achieve high scores on the campaign songs. The frustrating part is that you can’t replay those songs individually. Instead, you have to play through the entire 15-song campaign again, even if you only missed top marks on one song. This design choice slows down your progress and may feel unnecessary.

Engaging Solo and Multiplayer Modes

Amplitude offers engaging gameplay in both solo and multiplayer modes. In solo play, precision and focus are key, requiring players to carefully manage power-ups and maintain their streaks. Harmonix has also included the unlockable FreQ Mode, which allows players to switch to the circular format seen in the original Frequency game. While multiplayer lacks online play, the local options are robust. The four-player free-for-all quickplay encourages healthy competition, using power-ups to disrupt your opponents’ tracks or visuals. Cooperative and team-based play offer additional ways to enjoy the game with friends, creating a collaborative experience that makes you feel like you’re crafting a song together.

A Nostalgic Revival That Doesn’t Feel Outdated

As someone who has fond memories of the original Amplitude, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of enthusiasm for this revival. While there are some reservations about the music selection and progression system, they don’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the game. Amplitude is a taste of the past, but it certainly doesn’t feel outdated. Whether you’re a nostalgic fan or a newcomer to the series, Amplitude offers an engaging and addictive music game experience.

FAQs

Q: Is Amplitude available on all gaming platforms?
A: Yes, Amplitude is available on multiple platforms, including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Q: Can I play Amplitude with my friends online?
A: Unfortunately, Amplitude’s multiplayer mode does not support online play. However, it offers robust local multiplayer options.

Q: Can I create and customize my own tracks in Amplitude?
A: No, Amplitude does not include a track creation or customization feature. You can only play the pre-existing tracks in the game.

Conclusion

Amplitude successfully brings back the magic of the original game, offering an engaging and addictive music game experience. With its challenging gameplay, immersive visuals, and a soundtrack that hits the right notes, Amplitude is a nostalgic revival that doesn’t feel outdated. Despite some drawbacks in the music selection and progression system, the overall enjoyment of the game surpasses these minor issues. Whether you’re a fan of the original or new to the series, Amplitude is a must-play for music game enthusiasts.