Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is one of those games where the premise just makes sense. It’s the chaos of Overcooked and the co-op mayhem of Moving Out mashed together with music rhythm gameplay and puzzles. It has a cartoon art style and a soundtrack filled with the kind of music that gives parents flashbacks to their toddler’s favourite shows.
Interestingly, it’s one of Konami’s first moves back into the video game space as a publisher with a new IP. Second Impact Games were handed the reigns and out of this team-up comes a uniquely entertaining game that is just as equally flawed.
Is it worth digging out the beatbox or the dusty old CD player to mix it in the Super Crazy Rhythm Castle? Drop the bass and let’s see if this set of tracks is worth tuning in for.
This Is The Rhythm of The Lives
First things first, Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is a solo or up to 4-player co-op game. You select from one of four avatars, of which B. Box is the only objectively correct choice, that dude is adorable. Either alone or with friends, you must ascend the titular castle to dethrone King Ferdinand and claim your… crown? Freedom? Long-lost demo mixtape?
Who knows, but it doesn’t especially matter, as Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is delivered in a charmingly cartoon-like fashion. Characters express dialogue with noises, chirps and other-worldly sounds. Your avatar glides across the map with swagger and the writing is suitably slapstick and silly. The style and direction are clearly aimed for younger audiences, but fans of 90s games will find something to like, too.
Did I find that the constant use of grunts and high-pitched noises gets overburdening? You bet – the same way hearing a nail being screwed in can be defined as “uncomfortable”. As expected, it can also be nonsensical, but that’s part of the charm and the appeal. Kids especially will love it, but as the adult helping them through the game, you may want to metaphorically tear off your ears eventually.
So, how do you go about toppling the castle and showing the world you’re the greatest rhythm master in all the land? Well, by completing random tasks while jamming out to tunes, of course.
Crazy? I Was Crazy Once…
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is set up in a similar vein to Moving Out, in that each level is rated out of 3 stars. The better your performance, the more stars you earn. The standard part of every level is the rhythm gameplay, where you match button inputs to the beats of various tunes. This part of the game is great, as I found the input window to be accurate and on point.
You can switch between Reg and Pro difficulties – the former having L1, Square and R1 to contend with. The latter introduces extra inputs to manage, which as you might imagine, gets increasingly savage. I’ve spent a lot of time in Theatrhythm and other rhythm games and Pro on this game absolutely tore me to shreds. It’s commendable that there’s a substantial skill ceiling, however.
Balancing is one of Super Crazy Rhythm Castle most glaring issues. Some levels I could breeze through and 3 Star first time. Others would become as frustrating as having the Crazy Frog on repeat overlapped with drum & bass. It’s not a logical, gradual incline in difficulty, it’s just random bottleneck levels that either don’t adequately explain what’s expected (requiring frustrating trial-and-error) or the requirements feel too taxing.
It’s not exactly helped when the songs are… well, sometimes odd or just straight-up annoying after repeated listens. Nothing worse than failing a song, retrying again and having to suffer it again. Despite this, when the music and rhythm style is front and centre, Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is great fun. The element that’s as hit-and-miss as recent Blink-182 albums is what happens around the music.
Rhythm Me This
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle has a few fiendish tricks up its sleeve when it comes to differentiating its gameplay from similar titles. The tracks you’ll play your notes on? They can swing around, they can be blocked, they can twist and turn and everything in between. Sometimes, they’ll even be upside down, which is as disorientating as you might imagine.
The “Super Crazy” part of the title relates (I’d guess) to what goes on around the music track, however. Most levels will involve a puzzle of some kind. On one, you’ll play to power up chutes which fire out types of food to feed to a machine. On another, you’ll be powering up cubes which destroy environmental objects to reach the exit within a time limit.
Most will involve you being disrupted by enemies that stun-lock you (always love that), have timers for various objects or just have barriers. You mix between playing and running about to solve the puzzle or complete the objective. Run out of song? Restart. Don’t understand what you need to do? Keep retrying until you stumble upon it.
The effort to keep things fresher than a hip new indie song is commendable. Some levels are great fun as you scramble to manage your trusty assistant dog while fighting off a boss hand in a nightmare. Others are frustrating wars of attrition, where the solution is as clear as a glass left in mud during the winter season. A couple even tried my patience so much that I considered quitting altogether.
We Built This Castle On Beats And Tunes
Yet persevere I did. Despite the frustrations and the annoyances of some sections, Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is an endearing and largely entertaining experience. Collecting stars and progressing further unlocks new abilities such as a dash, bagpipe toxic spray and an ice weapon. Picking up items comes with a humerous little description and there’s a charm to every part of this game.
Thankfully, you also unlock a phone room – Doctor Who style (I think, I don’t watch Doctor Who, sorry) – where you can play every song uninterrupted by the other gameplay elements. Completing these awards you up to 4 tokens depending on your score, which unlock more bonus tracks from other game titles. It’s a fun reward system for an already intrinsically satisfying part of the game.
Unsurprisingly, this area was my favourite part of Super Crazy Rhythm Castle and shows off the best of the title – the creative music and fun rhythm combos. I applaud the effort in mixing up the core systems, but when it’s boiled down to its fundamental core, Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is better for it. It’s like hearing the original, raw version of a song that’s been subjected to auto-tune and over-production.
Gathering 3 stars for every level, finding every item and collecting every token will take you a long time. So, for those looking for a solid time-sink for themselves, their kids or a year-long project for friends, this’ll be a good purchase. The final boss section is only conquerable after hoovering up every star too, so more incentive for completionists.
Hold My Crazy Beats
I played Super Crazy Rhythm Castle solo, which I do think contributed to some of my gripes considerably. The frustrations likely become amusing mayhem-inducing moments when alongside your fellow beat-boxing wannabes. There are even some versus mode mini-games which add yet another layer of potential fun to the game.
There’s a lot to like, from the sometimes-cringey, occasionally dire yet always hum-worthy soundtrack to the multitude of ways to play. The world and environments are vibrant, with a strong aura of cartoon-inspired wackiness to the areas you slalom through. If you can gather up 3 fellow music appreciators (or the kids), there’ll be a huge amount of laughter and chaotic screaming, of that I can assure you.
As a solo player, there are definitely flaws in its design and its over-ambitious attempt to create so much variety may actually be what detracts from the best of the game. Is Super Crazy Rhythm Castle as good as its contemporaries like Overcooked and Moving Out? Not quite, but it’s an entertaining rhythm game that’ll provide a lot of fun for friends and families alike.
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is a mixtape of differing qualities. There are a couple of bangers in the form of its rhythm gameplay and cartoonish style. There are some flops in its messy difficulty curve and obstructive puzzle mechanics. The music is the perfect blend of childishly amusing yet annoying in equal measure, leaving a tracklist that’ll have highs and lows for all the family, but you’ll be mostly smiling throughout.
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is available November 14th on PS4/PS5 (review platform), Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Developer: Second Impact Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy from the publisher.