As a fan of both Rhythm games and RPGs, Metronomicon is a game which immediately grabbed my attention when I first saw it at PAX East in 2016. Now Metronomicon: Slay the Dance floor brings this fun and exciting game to PS4 and Xbox One in addition to PC.
The story set-up is there are these random parties popping up all over the countryside and wherever they appear monsters show-up to dance the night away. Unfortunately, a side effect of monsters dancing is things get destroyed. As a result, a special form of dance combat was developed and a university was established to teach people how to dance fight against these monsters. The first four characters I had control of were the first four graduates of this school.
Aside from this basic set-up that’s about all there is to the story, it’s straight forward. If you are the type of gamer who only wants to play RPGs with deep meaningful stories, this is not the game for you. Everything in Metronomicon is fun, goofy, and a little kooky; which is great and fits in well with a game about doing battle with dancing.
The four starter characters fill in the basic archetypes we see in most group RPGs: physical DPS, a caster, a healer, and a tank. As I progressed through the game I unlocked more characters who add even more options and abilities to the group. For example, one of the early characters I encountered was a man who was dressed like a dog and only seemed to communicate through barking. His abilities and fighting style was very reminiscent of a Barbarian. Although by the end of story mode you will have eight characters available only four can be used in a fight so choosing whom to use when is an important part of Metronomicon. Gaining experience and leveling up only happens for characters after a battle and anyone who didn’t participate won’t gain experience so swapping characters often will be important if you want to keep them on even footing.
Every character has a variety of different abilities which are unlocked through leveling them up in story mode. There’s a three-tiered system for these abilities where the first tier is the weakest slot (takes the fewest number of notes to activate) and the third tier is the strongest (has the highest correct note requirement). Once a tier is completed an ability is activated by either hitting a wrong note or switching tracks. This is a bit of a double-edged sword in that once you get past the first tier you are guaranteed to have an ability trigger, but sometimes if you need a specific ability at a particular moment making a mistake can really mess things up.
Another mechanic to be aware of is after each character casts a spell or uses and ability there will be a break before they will be able to do anything else again. The tier ability used the longer the cooldown will be. This not only adds into needing to plan moves well but it also acts as a further penalty when the wrong spell is accidentally cast.
Once the first region in story mode is cleared the Arena opens and allows the player to take on unique challenges and earn some equipment which can’t be obtained anywhere else in the game. One of the challenges of Arena is you can’t change the set-up for the characters used there. This was a issue for me because fairly early on I moved Clark’s heal to the second tier so he could do a bit more healing with each cast. In arena, I was stuck with his cure being the first spell and this change resulted in me accidentally casting purify more than a few times on accident.
Every song has two difficulty ratings. One rating is for the song itself which gives an indication of how quickly the notes will be and how complex the combinations will be. The second rating is for the difficulty of the monsters will be. Higher enemy difficulty songs seemed to not only have more health but also seemed like they dealt more damage. Plus, every song has a requirement of how many monsters must be defeated before the miniboss of that song will arrive. As a result, just making it to the end of a song successfully is not a guarantee of success. I noticed quickly there is a bar in the top right-hand corner of the UI which as I progressed through a song it would fill up. This bar is particularly helpful because if I was falling behind in the song there would be a red section to indicate how far behind I was.
In addition to every song being rated for difficulty, there is a difficulty slider to choose between easy, medium, and hard. One thing I did notice with this is mastering a song on one difficulty level and then bumping it up to the next was a fairly large change in difficulty. For example, a song with a rating of 1.5 on easy would be bumped up to a rating of 4 on medium. The difficulty of 1 – 2 has much fewer notes in each track and doesn’t really have any combos whereas difficulties of 3 – 4 will have multiple instances of needing to press multiple keys at the same time. If you find yourself struggling at all I’d suggest learning the songs in song difficulty order before moving to the next level of difficulty because it is a much smoother transition.
Local multiplayer is a mode which has been added in the Slay the Dance Floor edition of Metronomicon and is available in all play modes. Originally, I had assumed when doing two-player multiplayer the four characters would be divided between the two players. For example, one player might control Clark and Violet and the other player would control Gwen and Wade. The way it works is each player is assigned a different color to symbolize which character they have taken control of and then they can freely move between the characters in the same way you do in single player. It’s a cooperative mode and does require some coordination between the players to make the best use of skills. The best part is multiplayer is available in every mode of play in-game and the multiplayer leaderboards are separate from the single player leaderboards.
Metronomicon Slay the Dance Floor is a ton of fun and I hope to see more rhythm RPGs in the future. The soundtrack is also top notch and I often had various songs stuck in my head long after I stopped playing. For anyone who likes RPGs and Rhythm games, this is one you won’t want to pass up.
Metronomicon Review Score – 8/10
- Interesting and fun game mechanics
- A great soundtrack with a lot of variety
- Multiple ways to play which gives it a lot of replayability
- Local Multiplayer across all game modes
- Storyline is a little bit boring
- Leaderboards have all the difficulty levels together