DB Creations brings the bullet-hell arcade shooter Rhythm n’ Bullets to PSVR, but is it any good?
Rhythm n’ Bullets is more bullets than it is rhythm. Lots of bullets. A hellscape of bullets, you could say. A kind of… bullet hell? Kind of.
Release Date: July 22nd, 2021
Developer: DB Creations
Publisher: DB Creations
Availability: PSN (Digital)
The game is very simple in its delivery. It gives you two starfighters – one in each hand – and these are essentially your guns. The game then throws geometric enemies at you, but the twist is that they come in different colours and you need to change your bullets accordingly to take them out before they eat away at the core that you’re defending.
That might sound easy but when there are dozens of wiry shapes floating towards your core, it’s easy to get flustered. The controls are, thankfully, quite simple. You change your bullet colour with the face buttons, and your starfighters have colour indicators to let you know what the current firing colour is, and what colour is on either side.
You also have to deal with shielded enemies, which means firing off a special shot to break the shield – which is done with the Move button and trigger – before firing at them normally. It’s a lot to remember and I really did struggle to keep on top on top of it all. I often failed a few times before managing to scrape my way through to the level-end bosses.
Bosses fire off hundreds of shots at you and this is where the starfighters earn their wings because you must remember that they’re not just fancy guns. They can get hit, and if they take enough hits, you’ll be starting the level again.
It was really cool to weave the ships through the oncoming hail of bullets, and I kind of wish there was a game based around that mechanic alone. It felt like playing with toys again, something I’ve not done since this morning.
It’s a difficult game, for sure, but the game does throw a few bones your way. You get powerups in each level and the more enemies you destroy without your ships or your core taking damage, the higher your multiplier goes. This, in turn, gives your shots some extra power. The most basic shots are single bullets, with the maximum multiplayer firing many more, making short work of enemy clusters – providing you’ve got the right colour selected.
I found the difficulty to be a bit too much at times, and my introduction to the game was marred by silly deaths. This was partly my own fault for not really reading the tutorial as well as I should have, I’ll admit. But on the other hand, the game’s visuals can hinder, too.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the retro Geometry Wars-style design, I really do. But I would often see the enemies too late as their wiry frames blended them in with the environments, concealing them until it was too late and my core was taking a kicking.
I didn’t find the music to have much of an effect on the way I played. I had the volume up quite loud and I did try to shoot to the beat, but with the game’s frantic nature, I wasn’t able to maintain any kind of rhythm with my bullets. I did, however, really enjoy the Christmas level and its music. Listen closely and you’ll hear an electric remix of a familiar festive classic. I couldn’t help but hum along and have a little wiggle. Christmas tunes in July… Well, they do say it starts earlier every year.
For ten bucks or eight quid, Rhythm n’ Bullets is great value for money with its campaign, relaxation mode, and the evergreen endless mode, which I’m going to put some more time into and see if I can’t drag myself from the bottom of the leaderboards. Or I can just stay there and give you lot a fair chance… Yeah. I’ll do that. You’re welcome.
Rhythm n' Bullets PSVR Review
- Overall - Very Good - 7/107/10
Rhythm n' Bullets is a solid arcade shooter that's more bullets than rhythm. It's fast fun but it can be a bit overwhelming as the challenge increases.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PSVR, PS5.