No, it’s not DJ Hero. It’s also nothing like DJ Hero.
Sometimes it feels like very few genres are able to put their own unique spin on things quite like rhythm games can. Speaking of spinning things, Spin Rhythm XD is an upcoming game developed and published by Super Spin Digital. When trying to describe a game, our first instinct is usually to try and compare it to other games we have played in the past, and if I was forced to do so here I’d likely compare this one to a strange fusion of Guitar Hero and Audiosurf, but at the same time it’s not really like either of those things. Spin Rhythm works hard to create an arcade-like experience while feeling not quite like any other game I’ve ever played, and achieves both things flawlessly.
The PAX East 2020 demo of the game was on PC and controlled using a small DJ turntable, meaning when we were “spinning the record” we were actually spinning a disc that was controlling the game. This was not a peripheral created for the game, it was just a MIDI turntable, and the developers told us that any retail turntable could be plugged in and used to control the PC version of the game, though it can also be controlled via gamepad or mouse and keyboard. When we asked if there would be some kind of peripheral released for the upcoming Nintendo Switch version we were told they were toying with some ideas but there were no solid plans in place at this time.
In game, there is a note track leading to a disc with alternating red and blue spaces, and your goal is to rotate the disc so that the red notes hit the red spaces and the blue notes hit the blue spaces, which sounds simple enough but it took some time to get used to at first. You have to tap larger notes to successfully hit them, and every once in a while you’ll hit a spin section that requires you to start and stop spinning the disc with precise timing. This is my favorite part of the game, as just letting loose and having the disc spin is incredibly satisfying and that satisfaction is only doubled when you stop at just the right time to get back into the groove.
At this point, there’s not much more to say about Spin Rhythm XD. In my time with the demo, I got to play two songs and felt like the cool and grooving feeling that rhythm games are so good at producing was within reach. The soundtrack was phenomenal, the gameplay was simple, and really, what more could you ask for? The final game has been announced to include music from artists like 2Mello as well as having recently announced the addition of a Celeste remix provided by Lena Raine herself. We asked if they could tell us any of the other composers and artists they might be reaching out to, but all they could really tell us at this time was that they were reaching out to more people. According to the game’s Steam page, it will eventually launch with over 40 tracks to jam to. Overall, if you like arcade rhythm games, Spin Rhythm XD is likely going to be a must have for your gaming library.
Spin Rhythm XD is currently available as an Early Access title on Steam, and is currently set to release on Nintendo Switch some time in 2020.