Deian hasn’t played a rhythm game since Taiko: Drum Master on the Wii but he felt right at home with this title.
Rhythm games are immensely popular in Japan and also have quite a following in the West thanks to titles like Just Dance. But for Deian, it all began with Donkey Konga on the GameCube. In Europe, it was released in 2004 and bundled with a rhythm instrument called DK Bongos. Being developed by no other than the masterminds who made the Taiko: Drum Master series for the PlayStation 2, this title had a great selection of music tracks, although they differed between the three territories (PAL, US, Japan).
In VOEZ, you do not have any kind of external controller. It started as a mobile game for iOS and Android and therefore, all the action happens on the touchscreen. Naturally, when the Taiwanese developer Rayark Games decided to port this game to the Nintendo Switch, it was clear that the console was a natural fit.
Familiar, yet satisfying game mechanics
If you’ve played a rhythm game before, you will feel right at home once you start up the game. The design is simplistic and to the point. The graphics don’t get too crazy like in Taiko: Drum Master but instead try to help you get a perfect score.
The gameplay is simple: From top to bottom, cues come rushing down, following straight lines on different lanes. You have to tap each cue exactly at the moment when it reaches the target line at the bottom.
However, there are different kinds of cues:
Besides the red and black cues, there are also smaller white ones.
The blue cues mix things up a bit because they don’t have to be tapped.
The longer black cues are part of the third category; you will either have to hold and/or slide in different directions.
VOEZ has different kinds of visual elements that tell you if you hit the cues correctly:
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Still, VOEZ is not your average rhythm game because the lanes are not fixed. Be prepared to see them jumping around; even the cues sometimes change lanes before they hit the ground. The number of lanes is also variable: sometimes it’s just two, the next moment you are looking at nine.
Visual presentation: A feast for the eyes
Visually, VOEZ will please Anime fans a lot. The game features a nice to look at, well-animated Anime opening, that is accompanied by the beautiful theme song.
Besides the opening, the developer has integrated still images use the same style as the opening players see when they start the game. The images have to be unlocked though because they follow a story — yes, this game has a story (see below).
Moving on to the menu: It’s simple, features clean lines and eye-pleasing images but also seems to be a bit laggy. We noticed that, from the moment you press a menu element, it takes a second before it loads — we don’t know if this has anything to do with the fact that we run the game from a microSD card instead of the internal flash storage of the Switch.
The story: Unlocking the plot, piece by piece
VOEZ has an interesting game mechanic. To follow the plot, you have to unlock each episode by fulfilling a task, for example get at least a B in one of the harder modes. The game practically challenges you to get better and find out more about the characters.
Speaking of the characters: Each of them is a member of the VOEZ band:
- Sasaki Yuko, the bassist
- Chelsea, the female lead vocalist
- Lance, the drummer
- Ocean, the guitarist
- Jessy, guitarist and lead male vocalist
- Quian Quian, keyboard player
We won’t spoil the story and only say this: In the first episodes, each character is introduced to the player; later, you enjoy more and more about the daily activities of the characters.
Nintendo Switch exclusive features
VOEZ is not just a simple port but an enhanced version of what is already available on iOS and Android. But instead of paying for songs, you buy the game and have everything unlocked from the very beginning. If you are a rhythm game pro, you can skip the easy songs and go right to the hard or special ones.
Currently, you can enjoy more than 100 songs, some of which are Switch exclusive. Besides that, you don’t get any special features on the Switch version of the game. But the songs alone are worth the price; buying them separately on mobile would be a lot more expensive.
Final words about VOEZ for Nintendo Switch
Alina has never played a rhythm game before. Since she was little, she had a passion for the piano and always wanted to learn it. When Deian told her about VOEZ, she was pleasantly surprised and wanted to try it. So far, she has only tried the easy modes and loved the game. She was able to relax and concentrate on one task. For now, she isn’t able to get perfect scores but promises to continue playing to improve her scores. It’s a great opportunity to learn to follow a rhythm.
For Deian on the other hand, VOEZ has turned out to be a very great title when you just want to enjoy good music. During a system launch with a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you need titles like VOEZ that help you relax between your Zelda sessions. Not only is VOEZ charming, relaxing and highly addictive, it also pushes you to the limit while still offering nice rewards, namely the story episodes and icons you can pick as your avatar.
Digital nomads will enjoy this game a lot because it’s easy to pick up and play — start up your switch (or wake it up from sleep) and enjoying a few songs.
- Developer: Rayark Games, Esquadra
- Publisher: Flyhigh Works
- JP/PAL: March 3rd, 2017
- NA: March 9th, 2017
- Genre: Rhythm
- Mode: Singleplayer
- Price: 20.99 Euros, 2,500 Yen, 25.00 USD
- Size: 620 MB (JP), 650 MB (PAL)