Are you disappointed by the lack of a new Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution game? Well, look no further than Osu!, a free rhythm game for both Windows and Android that take the features and game-play styles or other staples in the genre and combines them into one fun package.
What make Osu! a must-play for rhythm-action fans is the huge amount of songs available thanks to its user-generated community. Where else can you find a music game that includes ska, metal, classical, J-pop and more? Looking through the track listings on the site will sure to bring up something you like, and for an anti-popularist curmudgeon like me, this is heaven.
Created by Dean 'Peppy' Herbert over the course of 7 years, it began out of his love for Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, a Japanese rhythm game on the Nintendo DS known as Elite Beat Agents in the west. This was the first mode to be added, with three others being included as the game evolved.
Osu! mode sees you tapping circles, rolling a ball over a slider or spinning a wheel for extra points and is controlled with the mouse. Taiko mode is based on Taiken no Tatsugen or Drum Beat but most games may see similarities with Nintendo Donkey Konga games. Here you either tap on the drum or snare depending on the colour of the icon.
Catch the Beat changes things up a bit but asking you to collect fruit as they fall. This is based on a hidden mode in one of the earlier Beatmania games. It is perhaps the easiest mode to start with, but once you try it on extreme you'll be throwing your desktop out the window. The final mode, Osumania should be familiar to casual players. It follows the template that a lot of rhythm games like Amplitude and Guitar Hero follow. You tap one of up to 7 keys when the note reaches a certain point on the track.
Out of all of the modes presented, this last one is perhaps the hardest. The games on which it's based on give ample enough time for newbies (and the musically challenged) to gauge their timing, but here they come this and fast leaving little time to react. This is perhaps the main and only criticism of the game. As levels (or Beatmaps) are created by an avid fan base, they often cater to other rhythm fanatics who can keep up with the beats of a hummingbird's wings. Those maps that are classed as easy can be way over the heads of some players.
When Elite Beat Agents was originally released in Japan, it was one of the earliest examples of how a touchscreen can change the way games are played. When playing Osu! on the PC this thought is always at the back of your mind. Thankfully there is an Android port call Osu! Droid that is just as easy to install and play. It works perfectly with no slowdown or frameskips which is crucial or a game like this.
Overall this is an impressively well-made game - even more so considering it's free. Whether you decide to get the Android or PC version, you'll begin to miss the glory days when rhythm games were all the rage. Highly recommended.
To download the game, follow the link below to go to the official site. The android version can be found on the play store.
Osu! is created by Dean Herbert
Review and Cover Design created by me