I have said this before and I will say it again. I always get super excited and enthusiastic when I get my hands on a newly release music/rhythm game. This time, it was Klang and I was a bit afraid when walking into this experience, since platforming and rhythm has already been done quite a lot, so originality was something that would be hard to spot. Klang was a pleasant surprise though and managed to suppress all those feelings that I had.
Developed by one and only person, Tinimations, Klang is the spiritual EDM child of Bit Trip Runner and all those “Band Hero” games. Well, kind of. We get to control our character however we want and basically things fly toward us with an indicator showing us when we need to press a specific button in order to avoid or hit an enemy. All of that happens of course with the rhythmic beat of EDM music playing in the background. The story is not super clear and rather abstract, but what I can tell you is that you basically help this kid, dual-wielding tuning-forks, battle his way through a world full of music monsters in order to reach a guy that looked like the Zeus of this music world.That Zeus guy is somewhat of a douche and treated the kid really badly, so basically it is a tale of revenge.
The story is not why I wanted to try out the game though. Obviously not, since I never really expect a super deep story out of these one-trick pony games. Klang however is not really all that “one-trick pony” gameplay-wise. I know it is a music game, but we have to talk about the gameplay mechanics before we look at pretty much anything else. Moving around with the character feels good but definitely a bit clunky sometimes. The aerial rolls and all those cool-kid moves that we do by default definitely add to the awesome movement feeling, but as always with these games, following the rhythm can be our best friend.
It is quite funny actually, since I did read a few of the reviews that were written for this game before writing down my own opinion and I was not surprised to see that some people found the game to be way too clunky rhythm-wise. That led those reviewers to giving the game a 40 out of 100, which is super unfair. I will tell you what though, based on my 10+ years of experience as a jazz musician and composer, I can tell you that the rhythm of the game is so on-point that it is actually super fun to sometimes just let go and move to the rhythm. The simultaneous platforming actions that we have to make are only making it ten times more exciting and interesting. So if anyone tells you this game is not well timed rhythm-wise, then they probably have a really bad sense of rhythm. There is always going to be that one reviewer that has no idea of what a game genre is like and he/she will be giving a very bad opinion on the whole matter.
Rhythm and gameplay mechanics aside, Klang has a really nice soundtrack. Tinimations is one of those people that are apparently so in love with EDM that they just had to make a game around that. Set to the music of legendary EDM composer, bLiNd, Klang will carry you through some very finely-made tunes that only make the overall game experience better. Music is a very important aspect of the game and thankfully it is really good. Obviously, if you are not an EDM fan, then do not bother playing Klang, because you will not survive the electronic beats.
When it comes to visuals, Klang has a surprisingly good look. Nicely animated cinematics and good combinations of colour contrast are all over the place. Good enough to make the gameplay visuals clear enough for us to enjoy the music at least. Level design though is one of the weak points of Klang. At least that is how I found it to be. You know when you start playing a rhythm game and you are good with rhythm, that you will probably get past some levels really easily. Well, it stops being a learning curve problem when you end up losing on stupidly unfair points in certain levels. These sudden up and downs somewhat force Klang to be repetitive at certain points.
Developed by one person you say? That is nuts. It is amazing how one person actually made this game and I can only commend a developer for doing something like that. Klang is definitely a must have for music-game fans.
Klang is available on Steam for the price of 14,99€.
Overall, a very joyful experience that I can see myself getting to when I want to have a couple hours of only music-related gaming. The EDM music is a good companion to the gameplay of Klang and despite its few problems here and there, it is a good bang for your buck. Definitely worth trying out.
+ Good mix of platforming with rhythm-based gameplay
+ Perfectly tuned to the rhythm challenges
+ Good visuals and even better aural background
+ One of those games that are actually worth their price
– Certain points in the game feel unfair and might prove difficult for some players
Konstantinos “Kelfecil” Christakis