If you read the home
page, you should have a basic idea of what the game's about. Basically, PK Rhythm
has you tap a key to the rhythm of a song. Although sometimes, some of the beats may skip, the tempo can change speed, or the beats may follow a certain pattern.
Something like this.
Being heavily based on Mother 3
's combo system, the game generally has an image in the center of the screen. This is usually an enemy from Mother 3
, but it can be anything, really. Then, when the key is first pressed, a small "smack" animation appears on the enemy, as if you "hit" it with the rhythm. If the key is pressed again in time with the next beat of the song, a combo will start. Another smack will appear, and two notes will be seen flying around the enemy. This indicates that you're in a combo. From there on out, you need to keep hitting the key with the song's beats and keep scoring points! If you miss a beat, the combo will end. When this happens, or every 16 hits, you'll be shown the number of hits and the score for the combo.
Points are scored based on accuracy. The closer you are to the beat when you hit the key, the more points you get for that beat. If you're too off-beat, the combo will end. Depending on the game mode, points will either be useless, or the key to your victory.
However, some songs like to be tricky and slam a tempo change when you least expect it. And I couldn't possibly let the player use trial and error to figure out where those changes are! Enter the heartbeat
. In Mother 3
, the player can make the enemy fall asleep
. They will now be able to hear the background song's "heartbeat". This highlights the beats of the song, making it easier to understand where the beats are. I implemented this mechanic into PK Rhythm
A lot of the game's content is customizable, specially the music. You may choose to play with any song you like. You need to download it first, however, along with its rhythm configuration. With PK Rhythm
, I already include some songs and their associated rhythms, but the goal is to have players create more. One needs to pick a song, and write a rhythm for it. That is, tell the game what's the tempo, when it accelerates, when it skips some beats, etc.
To casual players, this isn't very nice: they just want to play, not make files! But there's nothing I can do, really. I can't just provide a ton of songs and their rhythm files with the game. I don't know if in the future, people will create dedicate sites to have downloadable music for this game (like with StepMania
(I wish!)), but as for now, casual players can just use the songs that come with the game, and download random songs and rhythms that other people make. To those that want to add rhythms to their favorite songs, don't worry, it's not hard at all!
The goal of the game basically depends on the game mode. In the normal mode, you just hit the beats to your heart's content. Although, that's not enough action for some. And one of the goals I wanted with PK Rhythm
was to expand the combo system's potential as much as I could.
Note: This section talks about material that is still in development. What is written here might be different from what's true in the final game.
The following modes are available:
- Normal mode: The players just freely play with the rhythm without a care in the world. The game does record the maximum number of hits on a combo for each song, though. There are also some options that change the gameplay. Some disable the combo limit, others reverse the scoring, others silence the music randomly...
- Adventure mode: This mode really isn't meant to be taken seriously. Basically, the player is confronted with a set of enemies, each with their own song. In order to attack the enemy, the player must hit it - with the beats of the song! When a player finishes a combo, the number of points is equivalent to the damage caused to the enemy, just like in Mother 3! However, like in Mother 3, the enemy will strike back after a combo is finished. So the player has to make sure to get a good combo and cause serious damage, or else the enemies will take him down before he knows it! The player will also have a certain amount of health. The goal is to defeat every enemy without dying. The game then records the max adventure score, which is based on the time the player took, the amount of health left at the end, the general accuracy during the adventure, etc.
- Race mode: An interesting mode, that mostly resembles other rhythm games. The song only plays once, from start to finish (i.e. it doesn't loop). The player must try to do as best as he can, and hit the most number of beats on the song possible. At the end, several statistics will be shown, and the game will record the best ones.
- Accuracy: The game starts by sounding some sound effects in a regular tempo or a pattern. After that, there's silence, and the players must try to continue with the tempo or pattern... in absolute silence! Truly a test to see how good a player is at following a rhythm.
I said it before, and I'll say it again: I wanted to expand on everything I could from the original idea by Mother 3
. As such, I made the game have some really neat features:
- Songs, songs everywhere: Any song can be used to play with the rhythm, not just music from Mother 3, which is an often made assumption.
- Rhythms made easy: It's very easy to create a rhythm configuration file. The syntax is easy to learn, so editors can create rhythm files with a simple notepad. Alternately, the game provides an editor with a more user-friendly way of making rhythm configurations.
- Varied themes: The menus' looks are quite customizable. I already provide some themes with the game, some original, some based on themes from EarthBound and Mother 3.
- Instrumental glory: In Mother 3, every time a beat is hit, the current character plays some notes with his instrument. If the player can keep up the combo, the character will play a brief melody with those notes. These tunes and instruments can also be customized in PK Rhythm.
- Around-the-world translations: The game can be translated to any language with the use of simple text files that store the game's strings.
- Artificial "intelligence": You can play against bots, with varying degrees of difficulty. Making a bot that randomly misses and randomly hits is quite easy and effective. However, it's a bit repetitive. So, these bots have a degree of complexity; for instance, they sometimes stumble when the tempo changes all of a sudden.
- Console for the advanced users: For those that just want to play, the game takes them to the gameplay quite easily. For those that want to go deeper and customize everything, or want to add their own themes or songs, an in-game console is easily available, and it has several options. It also logs warnings and errors for those that want to fix problems with their custom content, without annoying the casual players.
- Blindness support: While making PK Rhythm, I figured that this is one of those games that can be fully played with your hearing alone. In Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero, you need to see which arrows and notes are coming up. In PK Rhythm, you only need to listen to the song and press a single button. As such, some details that help those with visual impairment are included.
- Sing-along lyrics: This is more of a small detail than a feature, but if the song has lyrics, one can configure the game to display them while the music is playing!
PK Rhythm vs Mother 3
To those that played Mother 3
, it might be interesting to know what are the differences and similarities between it and PK Rhythm
. These lists are only about the most regular things. In other words, I won't mention that Mother 3
doesn't have a multiplayer feature and PK Rhythm
does, because that's obvious.
- There is a background image that distorts with time.
- There is a picture of an enemy in the middle of the screen (most of the time).
- When a hit is made, a number showing the amount of points earned is seen flying away.
- When a hit is successful, another note is added to the circle.
- When a combo ends successfully (every 16 hits in PK Rhythm's case), the notes are seen flying away.
- In Mother 3, the damage caused by each hit of the combo is mostly random. In PK Rhythm, the points are based on the accuracy of the hit.
- When a number is seen flying in Mother 3, it goes off into a random direction. In PK Rhythm, if the number goes a bit to the right, that means you hit the beat slightly after the exact moment. If it goes a lot to the right, you were really close to losing the combo, because you hit the beat quite a bit after the exact moment. The same applies to when the number goes to the left and you're too late.
- In Mother 3, different songs have different timing windows for their beats. This is still under research. In PK Rhythm, the timing window is decided by the difficulty level before the song: Easy, Medium or Hard.
- When the "heartbeat" is activated in Mother 3, the song resets. In PK Rhythm, it doesn't.
- In Mother 3, after an attack, the game displays a message with "_ attacks!", which takes around a second, and can break the player's focus. Seeing as how this doesn't exist in PK Rhythm, something different happens. If a combo is finished successfully, the next combo can be initiated right away. If a hit was missed, there is a refraction period of 1 hit.
- When a beat is missed, and that causes a combo to end, the notes fall down towards the bottom of the screen.
- The first hit on a combo is always worth 50 points, in PK Rhythm, but causes a random, high number of damage in Mother 3.
For more info, check out SourceForge.net's pages on the game, or contact
- The game was developed in C++, using the Allegro library.
- The game's resolution can be set to any size. Though anything under around 150 x 50 is ridiculous.
- The game is fully playable at 240 x 160, the Game Boy Advance's native resolution.
Some SourceForge.net links: About
This website uses Google Analytics to gather visitor statistics.