Muse Dash is about to blast onto your screens and it is loud. After launching on mobile in mid-2018, this change of tempo brings cute visuals and an upbeat eastern aesthetic to PC and Nintendo Switch. Turn up the music as we take on the challenge.
Sometimes simple ideas are the best. Despite a plethora of poppy visuals, Muse Dash is a simple concept. Players are deposited on a platform and as a level scrolls left to right they are challenged to keep to the beat. As a mobile-first game Muse Dash initially launched back on iOS and Android devices. The product of PeroPero Games, the mobile version of the title received generally positive reviews on its first outing and now is available on PC and Nintendo Switch. The fundamentals of this title have not really undergone much modification for their move to a grander stage. The same candy cartoon visuals pop all over the screen and a tone that lies somewhere between kids manga, Cartoon Network cute, and fan service is evident. The draw is almost instant and it manages to scream eastern pop couture at you before you even hear the first few notes blare out.
An eastern pop vibe is plastered all over Muse Dash. The 2D fan service aside, this game is an up tempo synthesized affair that is chocked full of songs. These are all of a similar theme covering various forms of Vocaloid dance, drums, and bass. If you’re looking for something with a bit more Britpop or mainstream metal then this is not a game you will enjoy. Muse Dash is unashamedly cut from a cosplayer’s cloth.
Assuming the aesthetic isn’t too much then Muse Dash is a simple game to understand. This is largely indicative of the game’s successful mobile heritage. Opening up on a basic tutorial, Muse Dash presents players with a simple enough on rails challenge. Two buttons control provide something to beat to the rhythm of the music. Hitting either of these two keys will either make the player character attack anything in their path or deliver an uppercut to any enemies in the air. While the game is essentially just a case of bashing two buttons to beat on enemies or avoid obstacles, this does not mean things are easy.
Initial levels are simple with little more than the odd mob wandering into the two targets that eagerly pulse on screen. As with any rhythm title, a range of difficulty modes are present for every eventuality and the selection here is huge. A straightforward progression tree allows gamers to grind out experience points, leveling up their account and unlocking extra characters as they complete tracks.
Each of the available tracks comes with a variety of difficulty modes. Easy, Hard, and Master modes allow players to smash more complex combinations of obstacles as they scuttle through each level. The more accurate the performance, the higher the final score and the better the rank at the end of every song. Muse Dash contains it’s own online scoreboard, allowing players to compete for the top. In a nice touch, the game even allows players to link their accounts across pc and mobile platforms, meaning you can port your best scores as you switch between phone and keyboard.
This is not the only surprising feature of Muse Dash. Just as I was not expecting cross-platform progress synch, I was surprised at the pedigree of each rhythm challenge. No matter the difficulty, obstacles, and enemies are placed in a manner that always feels natural. The game, however simple the controls, is superbly responsive and the song design always feels on point. It makes Muse Dash a pleasure to play, especially with a huge range of songs.
While a symphony of songs exist in Muse Dash and even more are available as DLC, the 2D aesthetic can prove quite repetitive. The beat may change regularly over a character’s 55 levels but the background, mobs, and level design only seem to cycle through a few available options. This starts to prove more tiresome than you might expect. Mechanical changes or new obstacles that might make things more interesting tend to be few and far between. This will also prove to be a similar problem if you are not a devout follower of the synthetic beats and Vocaloid melodies that blast through Muse Dash. While that makes Muse Dash entertaining, it is nowhere near as challenging as a game like Voez or even the Persona Dancing franchise.
Despite these issues, I found Muse Dash a charming distraction. If you want a quick blast of noise and a fun challenge then is right on tempo. The mechanics might be pretty clean cut but this deleteriously bright beat-down is charming. Muse Dash is out now on PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS. You can check out more over on the Steam store page or the Nintendo eShop.