Inside My Radio is sensational. Born from the music-infused minds at TurboDindon at Ludum Dare 23, Seaven Studio were soon drumming to the same beat after they teamed up to realise their rhythm-action platformer.
It’s a genre that, for me at least, still sees the BIT.TRIP series by Choice Provisions as best in class. But, that doesn’t readily allow us to immediately dismiss this new kid on the block.
You play as Taek, who has found himself trapped inside the electronic innards of a decaying boombox. Now absorbed within a headphone-toting green LED that’s etched with a permanent grin, the boombox somewhat worryingly explains that it has been watching you for a while. But that’s for a good reason in that it shares that, without Taek’s music, it will disappear entirely. With music as your guide, you must, therefore, journey through the boombox to restore electro, dub and disco back to life.
Everything that you do within the boombox has an impact on the game’s soundtrack, a pulsing beat indicating when players should jump, pulse, dash or slam. These are introduced in quick succession to the player and, as can be expected, require rhythmic awareness, with each action having to be synchronised to the beat.
These each have their uses in overcoming the platform challenges you face, with dash letting you leap across gaps and slam letting you break barriers below you. It isn’t long before players have to combine actions, and, as such, the difficulty steadily begins to climb. What starts as obstacle traversal soon shifts when the rock-loving gang show up, in that you will then have to dodge their movement patterns at the same time.
For younger players or those that lack any sense of rhythm, an on-screen guide can be toggled, which will help you time button presses accordingly. It’s nice to see such thought has been made and certainly alleviates the risk of any frustration. That being said, it isn’t a particularly punishing game, and a mistake will only ever set you back seconds rather than minutes.
Glowing sticks that you pass to activate will continue to developer Taek’s music, a clever method in which the audio track is increasingly layered to give a sense of progression. With triangular sound waves lighting your continued path, you will eventually encounter other LEDs who each share their own love for specific music genres. Barry is the first, whose quiff and sunglasses fail to hide his passion for disco.
It’s the phenomenal music that drives the experience, but away from that constant beat, we can take time to appreciate the minimalist artistry. Inside My Radio looks as incredible as it sounds, silhouetted oddities placed against characterful backdrops to produce level designs that repeatedly wowed me.
But, the main criticism to be directed at Inside My Radio is one of brevity, in that this musical escapade is short lived and over in a matter of hours. That becomes more of a concern in relation to the asking price, which, on the Nintendo eShop at least, sees it priced at £12.99 (€14.99).
I will forever remember Inside My Radio as one of my favourite games on the Nintendo eShop for Wii U. With an entrancing soundtrack, standout boss battles and spotlight solos, it’s a memorable experience on all counts if you can afford it.