Beat Saber has had a stranglehold on VR rhythm games for some time. Though Pistol Whip has offered a pleasant distraction, it’s hard to deny just how great the game is. Part of that is down to its visuals and another part is down to how well it works with its eclectic blend of EDM, dance step, and electronica. God of Riffs doesn’t attempt to become a replacement, it attempts to make its own path alongside it - though I’m not quite convinced just yet.
To put it very simply, God of Riffs is a metal-tinged Beat Saber that tasks you with taking down hordes of enemies on time for the greatest score. One place it does outperform Beat Saber is in its arena choice. Where Beat Saber only ever takes place in one place, God of riffs lets you pick a handful of arenas that all change and react to the music in small ways. Mountains, monuments, and creatures start to bob their head or headbang as your score goes up and it gets even better when you active your high score mode.
Like Guitar Hero, you can throw your hands up to activate a special mode where your score is worth more and the arena starts to react. Also like Guitar Hero, you have to earn it through tactically hitting the right enemies. This feat is a little harder than it should be on the game’s release. The gameplay just doesn’t feel quite as strong as I would have liked with some obvious hits failing and obvious misses connecting. There’s little joy to be found in hitting enemies I missed as it leaves little room for consistency. I would prefer to consistently miss then the game let some through and others not - it ends up in you never quite knowing what you should do to improve.
If you can’t precisely point to an issue, you can’t correct it. This is an issue that holds God of Riffs back a great deal - it just doesn’t feel as nice to play as it should. Rhythm games need to feel accurate and the huge axes you have attached to either hand often feel clumsy and imprecise. This isn’t helped by the mediocre enemy design. It has a fairly rigid line where enemies come running at you so they rarely actually align with the ground in front of you, entirely taking you out of the moment. If your “notes” are on the ground, you have to hit small skeleton warriors and the hits in the sky are done via flying skull bats, reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold's logo.
I don’t think this similarity to Avenged Sevenfold is an accident, as the music itself is rather similar to theirs. The guitar work isn’t as intricate but the vocals have that similar tone. Verses tend to have a gruff raspy shout where choruses tend to have an anthemic catchiness to them. Even its song structure and lyrics are similar with references to power, death, and hell. This is the bravado of metal at almost parody levels but the songs aren’t entirely unenjoyable amidst the cheese.
It’s a bit of a shame that God of Riffs doesn’t attempt to branch out a little more. The samey enemies could be improved by having some take unique swings or by adding much more genres of metal. Metal is well known for its veracity and tempo, making a rhythm game the perfect fit but it could add well onto this foundation with prog metal for those who want a challenge or to blackgaze for those who want to fade out while they play. Although it markets itself as a metal game, it only appeals to one really subsection of the genre. This unwillingness to go outside of its bubble is something God of Riffs sees too much.
The game has one mode, entitled Arcade Mode, that has you go through songs with your chosen difficulty, modifiers, and stage. Unfortunately, with just four songs, five stages, and three difficulty settings, I felt done with God of Riffs after an hour of messing around with it. From playing it, God of Riffs makes sense to launch in Early Access and this isn’t me criticizing it for that decision. At a low price point and with accurate trailers, this is a game that could fit into its own mold over the next year but, right now, we just have the guts of something that could be enjoyable one day.
God Of Riffs - Verdict
God of Riffs is an interesting title and one I’m glad to see. It’s good that we are receiving a little more competition in the rhythm game section but this won’t convince anyone just yet. With a lack of replayability, a very small song selection, and some mediocre gameplay, God of Riffs has a lot to improve upon before it becomes a serious contender
TechRaptor previewed God of Riffs on PC Via Steam with a code provided by the developers. The game currently does not have a full release date.