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For what it is, the only rhythm game currently out on the PC, it is hard to judge Rhythm Zone for its faults. In the long run, most of them are rather forgivable due to the fact that it can literally have an endless library of songs to choose from. Combined with a price that is pretty much right for this type of game with this amount of competition and what comes out is a fairly respectable addition to the rhythm game family. While it probably isn't going to be something that converts people over from Rock Band, those looking for something a little different may have found a perfect fix.
Rhythm Zone may not be as ambitious as Rock Band 3, but it does offer music lovers an opportunity to play all their favorite songs for cheap. Even with a few fixable problems, Rhythm Zone is just enough game for just the right price!
Unlimited songs do not make this an engaging game, though it does make it much more fun. Playing the game to some of your favorite songs tip the scales in the games favor. It does what it says it does, and some of the younger set may find this a bit of fun, but after a couple goes it does not feel as hollow as a first look.
Now I know they’re still doing updates to the game, but honestly, at present I don’t know that it’s all that much fun. The poor syncing really throws you off when playing and it’s just frustrating. I think you might pick up a used copy of Guitar Hero or Rock Band from your local Gamestop and have a better time.
The ideas behind Rhythm Zone are excellent and there is a certain charm to be found in hitting notes in time with your favorite songs. Unfortunately, this music game fails on several fronts. The music analysis generates uninteresting, generic note patterns, there's no sense of progression or accomplishment for beating songs, and there's only eight featured tracks included with the original download. Although Rhythm Zone isn't a bad or broken game, I wouldn't recommend spending ten dollars on it.
Various games have allowed users to import their own tracks with different degrees of success. But unlike games like Audiosurf and Beat Hazard, Rhythm Zone doesn't just use the music to affect the gameplay--it's a wholesale imitation of a series in which the gameplay and the music are inextricably linked. Much of what makes Guitar Hero fun is that it makes you feel as if you're making music. Rhythm Zone's relatively random sequences of notes may generally keep to the beat, but most tracks are clumsy and uneven, certainly nowhere near the quality you'd find in a Guitar Hero or Rock Band game. Being able to use your own music library makes Rhythm Zone sound like an appealing experience, but even at $9.99, it's too buggy and inconsistent to warrant a purchase.
The concept behind Rhythm Zone has all the ingredients to make it a very interesting game indeed, but clumsy mechanics and poor execution keep it from being as rhythmic as it can be.
But what’s really most striking to me is that all of these complaints are in the other reviews. Head over to IGN or GameSpot and I’m saying the same things that their reviewers said six months ago. Sonic Boom, the developers of the game, have had a long time to make some improvements to the game before it fell into my lap and it doesn’t appear that they have. GameSpot’s Kevin VanOrd pointed out in July that there’s no playlist support - there still isn’t. IGN’s Ryan Clements complained that the game didn’t accurately generate notes - it still doesn’t. Sonic Boom seems to have added more songs since Clements’ review, but the game’s tagline is “Game Your Music” - no one is playing this game for the included songs. These are legitimate issues that should be addressed and haven’t been. Rhythm Zone was released as an inconsistent product that didn’t do what it advertised. Rhythm Zone isn’t listening to the music.
The title screen, which warns against seizures, should have included a warning against extreme frustration. The fact that the developers are constantly updating the game with more free songs is admirable, but even those don’t end up matching to the notes, which ultimately makes them worthless. If anything, Rhythm Zone is a hardcore dexterity workout, but rhythm game junkies should look elsewhere.