- + Addictive gameplay that brings you into the world of music like never before
- + Wide variety of awesome songs
- + FreQ mode will please long-standing fans
- - No online multiplayer
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Start Replay: “Feel The Music”
Before the musical gurus at Harmonix created Rock Band, they started with a game called “Frequency”. It was a title that pit players against the rhythm of songs, inside a warped tunnel of trance-inducing colours and patterns. Its sequel, Amplitude, expanded on this idea and quickly became a cult classic. It was never a financial success, but Harmonix knew that a passionate fanbase lay dormant, so in order to gauge interest in a remake the studio set up a Kickstarter. It goes without saying that Amplitude’s legacy ensured its resurrection.
I’ve fallen head-over-heels for Amplitude. It’s fast, frenetic, and easily disengages my mind from what’s happening on-screen. My fingers become the music, and each tap I administer orchestrates complex notes in a satisfying and seamless fashion. It took me a while to wrap my head around the gameplay, but once I endured a few songs I couldn’t take myself away. I entered this game a complete amateur, but quickly became a fan and fanatic.
There are only two modes in Amplitude: Quick Play and Campaign. In total there are 30 songs to progress through, but there’s a wide variety to hand. With a mixture of in-house creations, as well as listings from outside artists, some tracks offer a slower pace and others up the ante. There are five difficulty modes: beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert and super. The speed and complexity of expert and super made my mind boggle, but amidst the collection of beats something magical began to happen. My eyes soaked in the visuals and my fingers acted accordingly, whilst its addictive mixture of music took my hand and never let go.
Hitting notes is intuitive through the use of your ship (or Beats Blaster), and each song is broken into a number of colour-coded segments; vocals, percussion, bass etc. Every segment is split into sequences and features three rows of notes; left is controlled by pressing L1, middle is R1 and right is R2. This simple system means chaining together notes flows naturally on the fingers. That said, there are alternative control methods as well.
Completing a sequence will allow you to seamlessly jump onto the next one to carry on the rhythm. Doing so without missing a note will increase your energy and therefore unlock special abilities to aid your progress. For instance, should a certain section become too fast, enable “Sedate” and the action will slow down for a limited time. Similar powers include a points multiplayer and the ability to clear entire sections in one go. All of this can meld together in offline multiplayer with up to four players, but sadly there isn’t an online mode.
Each song has a flat layout, unlike Frequency’s ongoing tunnel of psychedelic sound. Fans will be happy to learn, though, that after accomplishing the first batch of campaign songs you can switch to the original by selecting FreQ mode. It will undoubtedly result in split opinion over the best method to play each song, but I preferred FreQ mode more than the default choice.
From beginning to end Amplitude encapsulates me. The beat of every song is wholly reliant on my skill to keep up the rhythm. It has its tough moments, but I had to lose myself in the music to truly become one with the rhythm. I couldn’t recommend it more to those who either love music or just want to try something very different – not to mention fun!
*Amplitude was provided to Start Replay on PS4 by Harmonix