Rhythm games are a dime a dozen. When it comes to mobile music games there’s not much you can do besides the usual combination of taps and... well, just taps. Cytus by Rayark Inc. such uninspired gameplay mechanics but adds new ways to interact with music.
Simply put, Cytus is a perfect translation of Dance Dance Revolution if it ever were to be released for smartphones. Since Cytus is a rhythm-based game, what’s more important than music content? If you’ve ever nodded along to at least one song in DDR then you may have a slight idea of what to expect. Like the popular dancing game, Cytus is filled with techno songs and Japanese pop music. At times, the game will try to branch out to other genres but don’t get me wrong, Cytus is like the Billboard’s Top 50 of J-Pop. With over 15 songs spread out through nine difficulty levels, if you’re not a fan of this type of music it may be difficult for you to fully appreciate the game.
With most music games, the notes usually scroll towards a designated area where you tap the notes in time. This isn’t the case with Cytus. Using a unique system called “Active Time Scan” a line actively travels from the top and bottom of the screen. As the line crosses the notes (orbs) you’ll have to tap it in time to receive a point. Like another popular rhythm game, osu!droid, sometimes the orbs require you to slide diagonally or hold on to all of them while the Active Time Scan crosses another orb, leading to a number of frantic moments.
My major gripe with the game is touch detection. With a game solely relying on timed button presses you’d think the developers would ensure they got it right the first time. This isn’t the case. I found myself executing a flurry of “perfect” with ease despite playing at a higher difficulty. Another issue is the way the orbs are placed. While they can be tapped in time with the beats, at times they can feel misplaced, shattering you from a musical trance.
In the end, minor nuisances keeps Cytus from claiming the best mobile rhythm game award. Despite these issues, its unique Active Time Scan, clean presentation and catchy soundtrack separates it from the pack. Well worth a try if you’ve been looking for ways to play with music.