Review – Lyrica2 Stars Align
Lyrica2 Stars Align is a rhythm-based game set around a group of people making a band. Their paths and stories then intersect with Chinese poets Li Shangyin, and Du Mu, as they appear in their dreams. The story is almost secondary to the main part of the game; as for anyone who has played the similarly-themed Arcaea, Lyrica2 is set up a lot of the same way in the layout for song difficulty, design, and most other things.
The way that Lyrica2 plays is pretty simple. You have the option to play with the touchscreen, comprised of simply tapping the screen where each of the notes appear and holding it down for sustained notes. Playing on controller, you use the left button on the D-pad and the A button. Which button you use to hit each note doesn’t exactly matter, you just need to be aware of when there are two notes that needs to be hit at the same time. Thankfully, Lyrica2 is quite nice and adds a dotted line between the notes to let you know they are played at the same time. You essentially follow a planchet around the screen and hit the note, or tap the screen, as the planchet enters the note.
Lyrica2 has four sections to select on the main screen: “Play,” “Story,” “Challenge,” and “Achievements.” All of these sections give unlocks for a few things. Some are locked behind certain modes. For instance, achievements need to be unlocked for certain characters. “Play” is basically the quickplay mode; this will let you just simply pick songs to play. Songs have four different difficulties, easy, medium, hard, and expert, just like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Under each difficulty, songs are assigned a numerical difficulty to help you know which ones are easier and harder. My biggest suggestion in this mode, and in Lyrica as a whole, is to play on a higher level from the beginning, because starting from easy does make it a bit hard to build up and get used to using both hands as often.
“Story” is simply put, the story mode of the game. The idea is to unlock pieces to a puzzle by completing challenges based on a variety of songs. These challenges are usually pretty simple, like achieving a certain rank on a song, or a certain score on the song. Sometimes they’re a bit more specific, like “less than 20 misses on a song.” Story unlocks artwork for different characters surrounding the story that’s happening. After each song is completed, you’ll be greeted with a bit of dialogue to help progress the story. It’s not exactly engaging, but it’s an extra bit of content at the very least.
Challenge mode is an interesting one. In it, your goal is to fill in the blanks on a scroll. Each completed scroll gives you a reward, such as, for instance, a new song. To fill in the blanks you need to complete songs chosen for you, on a difficulty chosen by you, for the most part. Each difficulty changes how many blank spaces are filled in at once, so playing on the highest difficulty will get you through everything quite quickly. There are also locked spaces where difficulty and everything else are chosen for you, likely to stop anyone from just flying through once you’re good enough or used to expert mode for all the songs.
Achievements basically speak for itself, a variety of challenges to finish in order to earn rewards. These challenges are mostly comprised of completing songs with a certain rank or higher, get a certain score on each song. Nothing too insane, but something simple enough that lets you simply play the game and complete most things, if not everything. Achievements will also give you an idea of you’ve done throughout the game, telling you how many times you’ve played songs perfectly and other bits information as well.
Graphically, Lyrica2 isn’t anything crazy to look at. The graphics are pretty basic, with some changing backgrounds being the core jist of it. I do appreciate that the look of the notes do change based on the characters used, though. The music is also quite nice, a lot of it is very traditional and gives a nice insight into Chinese musical culture. Some of the higher level songs also sound like they’re mostly remixes infusing traditional Chinese music, which creates an interesting idea of what traditional and modern sound blended is like.
All in all, Lyrica2 is an interesting traditional “Chinese music + Tap Tap Revoluton” blend. The way that this game puts together a lesser explored style of Asian music and brings it into the limelight with a more modern style, especially in rhythm game format, is really interesting. Providing more traditional takes, alongside more modern remixes also allows for the music and the game itself to be more accessible to people who may be turned off by the idea of not understanding most of the words in the songs. Also, a fun rhythm game that takes the capabilities of the Switch’s touch screen into account.
The graphics aren’t out of this world by any means. They are actually quite basic as a whole. Being able to differentiate between what’s a note and what’s background is quite key though, and this wasn’t a spot I felt that Lyrica2 had too many issues with.
Lyrica2 is a very comprehensive rhythm game that takes full advantage of the touch screen for those who wish to use that, and is more than simple enough to play on controller for those who don’t. The growing difficulty and being given a fair representation of it is a nice way to handle the game and songs.
Lyrica2 blends together songs that are highly influenced by traditional Chinese music, with songs that simply incorporate it. This makes for a nice variety of music that can make a longer play session feel varied.
Fun Factor: 7.0
While I found myself having a lot of fun with Lyrica2, it was missing some more inclusive songs. Songs that really got you into the groove of the game the same way Rock Band has Judas Priest, or Guitar Hero has Slayer. This was missing a key “I want to play this on repeat” style song.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Lyrica2 Stars Align is available now on Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of Lyrica2 Stars Align was provided by the publisher.