It's rare for a rhythm game to keep me hooked even after playing all the songs yet Cytus II managed to do that.
As a fan of this developers previous games I jumped on the offer to pick this up for free from the google app store last week. While the music used to be the main draw it seems like some rhythm games have tried to insert some narrative between bouts of musical mayhem. VOEZ, a previous game by this developer tried this and failed. Requiring the player to be a expert of the toughest difficulty was just dumb and that lead to me putting that game down sooner. Turns out they learned from that mistake this time.
The world of Cytus is your standard cyber future where everyone is online. The base game follows a set of musicians that live their own lives. A pop idol, a live streamer, robot and a AI? Although they don’t seem to be connected different aspects of the world get divided out via instant messenger conversations. Something bad is going on and it all seems to be connected to A.R.C. somehow. As for the progression just competing songs will level up the current musician which will then unlock a new story bit. While it may not always be important it does a good job of fleshing out the different characters and their personalities. I was hooked the entire time even after the credits rolled.
Yes you do indeed get to play a by the numbers touch based rhythm game. Taping on the screen with the beat of the song is the goal. Sliding or holding notes is also required. The sliding bar on the screen was a extremely helpful addition since it lets me keep up with the beat easier. The timing seems rather lenient too which lets me at least compete some of the toughest songs on the hardest difficulty. Although I like this style of game I’ve never been quick enough to keep up with how fast the beat can go sometimes. Luckily this game doesn’t just rely on some good music to keep your interest since the presentation is spot on too.
The gameplay has a cyberpunk looking neon glow to the note charts. Which is cool looking and each of the characters has their own little visual flair wherever you go into their songs. All the animated cut scenes are very well done and the artwork in general is nice to look at. While seeing constant new things is rare when it does pop up they are used effectively but the one thing that is a bit of a downer is the focus on having a bunch of stuff locked behind in app purchases.
Sure the main storyline is in the base game but seeing everything that is locked behind a paywall really makes me wish this let me pay more to unlock it all from the start. Buying things piecemeal always makes me feel like the developer is trying to get every dollar they can from me. The focus on paying the same songs multiple times might be a bit repetitive as well. Although I didn’t mind that to much since it just let me improve on my previous attempts.
The core of this experience is has a surprisingly compelling mystery going on backed up with a good variety of music. Even when the credits roll the narrative wasn’t quite done yet which was nice. Unless the style of music isn't to your taste this is a game worth playing.