The Switch’s first rhythm title is also its first “handheld only” offering. While VOEZ features a vast library of songs and sleek presentation, it comes with a hefty entrance fee.
VOEZ wasn’t even on my radar until recently. The thought of a Switch game that could only be played in handheld mode almost stopped me from even investigating the stylized rhythm title. The game may have some short comings, but it certainly knows how to beat up the beat in all the right ways. And what more do you really want from a game based around music?
The songs shown in the screenshot above are just a small sampling of the total number of tracks available in VOEZ. Not only does the game offer over 100 songs, it also hands them to you in one lump sum upon purchase. No need to unlock harder difficulties or new tunes. It’s all literally at your finger tips form the get go. Players will have plenty of choices, though they may find some of the songs running together in their head. More on that later.
If you can tap, hold, swipe and trace then you’re well on your way to becoming a VOEZ veteran. Those four motions are all one needs to jump into a fast paced techno track or a drawn out piano solo. Each note falls on a line and the biggest curve ball the game throws is that the lines themselves don’t stand still. They may jump to the side when the bass drops or bob back and forth to the beat, so players must be weary of where their falling note is going to end up and not necessarily where it came from.
VOEZ is a geometric dream. It features an alarming amount of diamonds, but does so in such a clean and seamless way that players will be in awe. Everything from menus to gameplay flows without a single hiccup. This approach is helpful in a rhythm game because often times the background action can divert from the actual notes that need to be hit. I’m looking at you, Hatsune Miku series.
VOEZ will not let you fail. That is, the game will never stop a player mid-song to let them know they have missed too many beats. Aside from certain hold notes going grey and the combo tracker restarting, players may not even realize they’ve even made a mistake in the first place. Which is surprisingly refreshing, because nothing makes players freeze up or start to lose focus more than a blaring visual or audio display alerting them to their shortcomings. Win or lose, VOEZ wants players to power through and enjoy the music.
I’m decent at rhythm games, as I play them quite often, but even I felt like I must have missed more than the game was letting on at the end of each track. There are times when waves of complicated beats are thrown at you and the game is pretty merciful in these occasions. Or as my brother put it, “It makes you feel like some kind of electro wizard.”
At $25, the entry fee for VOEZ may seem a bit steep. That uncertainly may build further when one learns they can’t even play the game on their fancy new TV. Touch only controls means handheld only when it comes to the Switch. Since these controls work out so well it’s not really much to complain about, but it will certainly be a turn off for those who want a bigger picture.
Hopefully you’re a fan of J-Pop, K-Pop, and tracks you might hear at a glow stick-fueled electronica rave. While these pumped up beats do make for excellent rhythm based challenges, players will have a hard time telling them apart after the fact. They’re not bad tunes, especially for the type of game VOEZ is, they’re just very similar. Some standout piano tracks and other twists to the norm are a nice change of pace, but they are few and far between.
There’s something odd about a story mode that many players might unknowingly skip. There is a story to VOEZ, but the game really doesn’t make it anything worth exploring unless you’re just feeling curious. The main plot centers around a group of teenagers whose band makes the big time. This is played out in the form of a diary, with new entries unlocked when certain milestones are met. It’s nice that it’s there, but I wouldn’t have had many complaints if it was scrapped in its entirety.
The entire VOEZ tutorial is under a minutes long. It involves no actual activity on the players part, and doesn’t do a great job of explaining a few of the key gameplay components. It won’t take players long to get the hand of the controls and settings on their own time, but it sure would be nice to really go in depth on how they work with a variety of examples.
Anyone who enjoys a solid rhythm outing and doesn’t care too much about song variety will be right at home with VOEZ. It’s sleek interface and simple controls more than make up for its lack of TV play. Music lovers will find themselves hopelessly addicted to this handheld gem in a matter of minutes.