KLANG was a game the intrigued me when I first saw it, but had me a little worried at the same time. Fantastic music and visuals cannot save a rhythm game if the mechanics aren’t solid. More so than any other genre of games, in a rhythm game, your controls have to be tight as they can be or it will end up a glaring, game breaking failure. After seeing KLANG at PAX East 2016 however, the concerns have been easied; KLANG is a game that combines platforming with a rhtym game in a way that is superbly fun and challenging, backed up by fantastic music and compelling visuals.
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: TBA 2016
Klang is an innovative take on traditional rhythm games that pushes the genre beyond pressing buttons to tempo into a world of fast-paced exploration, platforming and combat. In Klang, players assume the role of a tuneblade-wielding, elite rave warrior (named Klang) on a quest to free himself from the shackles of Soundlord Sonus. Become one with the music as you battle your way through increasingly challenging levels, timing every action and attack to audio visual cues. Set to the music of legendary EDM composer, bLiNd, Klang is an adrenaline rush sure to challenge even the most skilled of multitaskers.
This is not to say I’m any good at KLANG, but the game plays in a very unique and a very fun way. You’re able to run around the brightly colored zones as the main hero, Klang, and engage in pretty classic 2D platforming. However, at certain points you’ll enter into a sort of rhythm quick time event (I know that’s a dirty word to some, but it works here), which will involve you lining up button presses and sword slashes in time with the music and the enemy attacks. Good timing will dispatch enemies more quickly (or seemed to in my plathrough), and the challenge ramps up fairly quickly, but never doesn’t feel unfair or clunky at all.
One of the greatest praises I think I can give to KLANG is that, while playing the game, I was ferociously tapping my feet and bobbing my head to the music from bLiNd, which was absolutely fantastic. The visuals, gameplay and music all work together to get you into the pulsing, rave-happy, EDM mood that permeates the game. It works really well, and I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed myself starting to get into the groove.
In talking with Tom-Ivar Arntzen, the sole developer, it’s clear that he’s seen a niche that can be filled by KLANG, and I think he’s on to something:
” What differentiates [KLANG] from other rhythm games in particular is that those other games tend to focus on the “you just push the buttons” aspect, and don’t really give you anything more than that. Then, you have action games like God of War, Devil May Cry, or Ninja Gaiden, and they bring all this other good stuff; you get to portray yourself in a character, there’s interactivity, and real immersion.
Those games lack the “feeling one with the music” element; the music might sound cool, but it’s just playing in the background. It doesn’t matter if you are doing well or poorly, or if you are syncing up to [the music]. I saw the potential to combine [these two types of games] into something that give you a action game with that rhythm feel. ”
– Tom-Ivar Arntzen, Art & Game Design, Tinimations.
EDM is a devisive enough genre that this heavy focus and theme will probably drive some people away from the game. However, it you are a fan of any classic platformers and a fan of EDM, KLANG should certainly be on your list of games to watch this year.