Ever wanted to play an RPG that also includes a rhythm game with a combat system? Well you might be in luck, as The Metronomicon provides such an experience. But if you wanted either a well done one or such a game with a more serious story, you might want to look elsewhere. It’s not that this game is bad. Far from it, but while the concept is nice, the game doesn’t do quite enough to satisfy either type of fan.
The game starts with a graduation ceremony at a school erected to studying a monolith that revealed the secrets of the rhythmic combat arts. The students that graduate from there will then use these skills to liberate their sacred temple, the Metronomicon. And your party consists of the latest set of graduates, who are a bit on the screwball side. They are the basic RPG classes of Fighter, Tank, Cleric, and Mage. The Cleric is the only class that at least at first has no combat function, instead healing the party, who shares a single health bar. The goal is to complete each level by playing the rhythm game until the track finishes. Based on the number of enemies felled and the score earned, you’ll get more experience to make future levels easier as the challenge increases.
Combat itself is played out like a rhythm game, with notes falling down waiting for you to hit them. Once a character pulls off a small combo, they will launch their attack or skill. The melee fighters have a larger cool-down compared to the other two characters, so you’ll have to switch between each character with the bumper buttons if playing on a gamepad. For higher tier skills, you’ll have to charge up your magic casting by having them skip over doing a combo and picking another character while they charge up, all to pull off a stronger attack or different skill. It’s kind of hard to wrap one’s head around, but you’ll get it after a while. There are also challenges you can take on that have different requires like killing a certain number of enemies, or hitting a certain combo string a number of times. These challenges are presented as side-quests, and offer worthwhile rewards like new equipment.
The setup sounds good on paper, but there a few things that hold the game back a bit. If you wanted a more serious story, you won’t get it here, as the game seems to want to be more humorous to match the ridiculousness of its rhythmic combat arts concept. The game also has some presentation issues. The way the notes are presented is lacking, as the area that the notes show up is small, and the notes are hard to see. Add to the fact that the notes for the directional pad and face buttons are treated as the same, instead of different functions. If they were different, it would be a bit easier to identify which buttons to press during the more complex notes requiring you to hit more than one button. The other issue has to do with the fact that you can’t use the mouse to navigate the games menus, which is just odd.
While the game is enjoyable, it could use a bit more polish. It has a nice collection of tracks to listen to. But as it currently stands, you can check this game out if you really want to, but you would be better served playing a pure RPG or pure rhythm game instead.