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Rizline: A new lineup of rhythm game

Discussion in 'Video Games' started by RadEmpoleon, Dec 2, 2023.

  1. RadEmpoleon

    RadEmpoleon certified EPIC Gamer™

    Level 7
    Jun 4, 2018
    Comet Shard ★★★★Poké Doll ★★
    Funny story- when I was ready to post this the other day, the site went down! Luckily I copy-pasted everything I had typed out lol

    I mentioned in the discord that I wanted to review Rizline, so here I am reviewing it. (Yes, this is actually the title of the game. I doubt the creators even know what "rizz" means.)

    Rizline is a fairly new mobile rhythm game (released in April of this year) created by Pigeon Games, the creators of the highly successful Phigros. (Yes, I did review Phigros on here a long time ago, but I can guarantee it’s severely outdated at this point, and probably not written very well either. Don’t read it.) I’ve heard this game has been in the works for quite some time, and I just recently learned that Pigeon Games is struggling financially. That’s probably why there was such a delay in releasing the game. I will be reviewing the game with this in mind, so I might not be as harsh on it. (I will also be mentioning/comparing it to Phigros a lot, since both games are made by the same company.) Take my review with a grain of salt.

    Rizline is a vertically-oriented rhythm game where the notes fall down on lines that move around the screen. (It plays very similar to another rhythm game, VOEZ, if you’re familiar with it.) Much like Phigros, the charts feature dynamic moving judgment lines that move along with the song and sometimes form shapes and such. However, charts in Rizline have multi-colored backgrounds and judgment lines that change color at different points in the song.

    There are three types of notes in Rizline:
    • Tap notes: blue circles
    • Drag notes: tiny white circles
    • Hold notes: blue bars
    Nothing too wild or out of the ordinary. There are no flick notes, so that’s good.

    There are three different difficulties: Easy (EZ), Hard (HD), and Insane (IN), just like in Phigros. EZ charts range from about 1 to 6, HD charts range from about 5 to 10, and IN charts range from about 10 to 14 (there is also 11+, 12+, and 13+)

    There are five different timings for notes: Perfect, Early/Late, Bad, and Miss. (I don’t know the exact timing windows for them since I haven’t been playing for too long, but that’s probably on a wiki page somewhere.) Though from what I’ve noticed as I’ve played, the timing doesn’t really matter that much. As long as you don’t get any Bads or Misses, it counts as an All Perfect, even if you got some Early/Late notes.

    As always, I have so kindly provided a screen recording of some gameplay, as well as the menu and interface. (I accidentally cut out the title screen of the game at the beginning of this recording...)

    There’s an HP bar at the top of the playing screen that depletes when you miss a note (a small X will appear when you miss a note). The bar does recover as you play, but if the bar drops down all the way, the chart and music immediately stop and it counts as a fail.

    Something else I’ve noticed is that you don’t necessarily have to tap the notes on the line. It seems to register notes wherever you tap (on or below the line), as long as it’s on the correct timing. (I tried to show this in the video by having the "show taps" option turned on for my screen recording, but it might be hard to tell against the background.) Of course it would be good practice to tap the notes on the line, but I have cheesed some difficult patterns that I probably would’ve missed otherwise just by tapping the same place on my screen.

    There are currently only three songs available for free. The rest have to be unlocked through paying actual money. I was a bit surprised to see in-app purchases since Phigros is a completely free game, but I guess it makes sense considering the creators’ financial situation. The paid currency is called coins, and these are the prices (in USD):
    • 1 coin: $0.99
    • 5 coins: $4.99
    • 11 coins: $9.99
    Fairly standard pricing as far as rhythm game paid currency goes.

    As of writing this, there is one song pack you can buy (Disc 1), as well as a few single songs (Disc EX). Disc 1, which includes the other 30 songs in the main pack (aside from the free ones), only costs 1 coin. That’s a fairly reasonable price to unlock the full version, but I probably wouldn’t have bought it if not for my Google Play credits which covered the $1. (I don’t really want to spend on mobile games anymore, unless I can cover the cost with Google Play credits.) Still, I’m happy to support Pigeon Games financially, even if it’s just with $1 that technically isn’t even mine. The single songs in Disc EX are also 1 coin each. We’ll probably get more song packs (and hopefully more free songs) in the future, but this is all I can report for now.

    There are around 50 (don’t know the exact number) songs as of this writing. There are a few I recognize from Phigros (NO ONE YES MAN, On And On!!, Clock Paradox) and a few popular rhythm game songs (Sakura Fubuki, Bamboo, MiLK). Only time will tell what songs we get in the future, but this is all there is to report so far.

    The songs in Disc 1 are unlocked sequentially with Dots, the other in-game currency that is earned by playing charts (or bought using Coins). The songs progressively require more Dots to unlock (from around 20 to around 65 Dots), with the last few costing 200 Dots each. These last few songs can be unlocked in any order, but the other 30 have a set order (starting with easier charts and ending with more difficult charts) that spiral around the three free songs on the song select screen.

    A lot of rhythm games have some kind of overarching story (that many of us can’t be bothered to read, we just want to play the charts). Rizline has absolutely no story. There are a few characters in some promotional art on the app store description, but none of them have names as far as I know, not even the girl on the app icon. (The guy with the dark skin and white hair looks cool though--)

    I’ve only played Rizline for a short time, so I wouldn’t consider this the most thought-out, set-in-stone review. These are simply the thoughts I have so far in the short time that I’ve played.

    The main thing I have to say is that a lot of the features aren't explained well. For one, there was barely a tutorial, if you could call it that. When I played a chart for the first time, it briefly showed me each type of note and how to hit them, and then the chart started. Granted they aren’t that complex to understand, but a brand-new rhythm game player might struggle if they were thrown in without a tutorial. They also never mentioned the whole color-changing notes gimmick, not even in the app description. You could imagine my surprise when the colors started changing in the middle of the chart. I have no problem with it (I quite like the colors), but some warning would've been nice, especially for light-sensitive people.

    The vertical orientation is… interesting. That’s fairly uncommon for mobile rhythm games (the only other one I can think of is Tone Sphere). Since the playing field is so narrow, I find that sometimes the notes can get too close to each other to tap with thumbs. I have tapped my thumbs on each other trying (and failing) to hit notes that are too close together multiple times.

    There are a lot of things about this game that make me think “Well that’s… weird.” For one, as I mentioned earlier, you get All Perfect as long as you don’t miss any notes, even if there were early or late notes. That would warrant a Full Combo in pretty much any other rhythm game. I don’t even think there’s a way to get a regular Full Combo in this game. The game doesn’t clearly indicate the timing of notes (other than Misses, in which a little X will appear on the screen). I only noticed from watching an old screen recording that the game does indicate Early and Late notes (not sure about Bad), but it’s so tiny at the top near the top of the screen that you wouldn’t be able to see it if you’re focusing on the notes on the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, you have to wait until finishing the chart to see how many you got. The way they count combos is also really weird… I’d look at my combo and wonder how I got a combo of over 1000 on an easy chart. It seems like most notes count 4 towards the total combo, which makes absolutely no sense.

    Ok, I know I’ve been comparing this game to Phigros a lot, but I’m doing this since they’re both made by the same company. There are some great features in Phigros that would be great in Rizline. The main thing I’m thinking of is the glowing notes for notes that you’re supposed to hit at the same time. Rizline would really benefit from something like this, especially since the notes are so small that it can be hard to tell if a pair of notes should be tapped together or not. (Though I’m not entirely sure how this would work in practice, since the colors change so much in Rizline that it might be hard to have one consistent color to indicate which notes should be hit together.) Some kind of all perfect indicator would be helpful as well. They didn't have one in Phigros at first, so maybe they just like to wait to add that feature in their games lol.

    I know it seems like I’ve been very nit-picky/critical about the game, but I still like it. I think it has great potential. I trust in Pigeon Games that Rizline will get even better with time. The charting is really creative and dynamic, and like in Phigros, they like to draw out fun shapes and pictures with the judgment lines. I like the clean and simple interface of the game, especially on the song select screen that plays a muffled version of whatever song was last played. The color-changing notes were a pleasant surprise, but a welcome one. The colors they pick match with the song's cover art, which I really like.

    I’m very interested to keep playing Rizline and seeing what it has to offer in the future.
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