Review – LOUD
After the oversaturation caused by TapTap Revolution on the mobile side, and the Guitar Hero / Rock Band franchises for instrument-based titles, rhythm-based games have struggled to find unique elements, both in terms of gameplay and presentation, to feel truly unique. Everyone wants to feel like they’ve done the next big thing, but very few manage at the end of the day. LOUD, developed by the folks at Hyperstrange, is the next contender wanting to join the list, offering a unique gameplay loop coupled with a relatable story to boot.
Following in the footsteps of the handheld spinoffs of the Rock Band series, such as the PSP exclusive Rock Band: Unplugged, LOUD is played using each side of the controller, for a total of six lanes for notes to come from. Given this was played on the Switch, that means the left side notes were played with the up, left, and down buttons on the directional pad, while the right lane was played with Y, A, and B.
As you can expect, notes will alternate between sides, and chaining together notes gets you a score multiplier. Missing a note will end your multiplier, and missing too many notes will give you a strike. The difference between LOUD and other games is how less forgiving it is with dealing with mistakes. Instead of giving you lots of chances with a success meter, you’ll fail upon missing notes three times during a song. Yep, three strikes and you’re out.
LOUD even has a very interesting story to go along with it. This is the tale of a teenager wanting to play guitar, write music, and play gigs. To almost any rock and metal fan, regardless of gender, the story of LOUD is highly relatable. A parent gives you your first instrument, helps you with playing the first few chords, and then you start looking for like-minded people to play some music with. The story progresses between small tidbits of exposition-heavy cutscenes, and the songs that you learn to play. As you become a better guitarist the songs get progressively harder.
The songs are great throughout as a rock fan, LOUD does a great job at really exploring what it’s like to learn to play music, and how your taste evolves with age. From the start playing fairly classic sounding songs, to a grunge and punk phase, the progression through the ages is very relatable to any fans of the music. That, coupled with the fun and attention-grabbing gameplay, makes it a blast to play.
Arguably the only part of LOUD that felt like a slight letdown was its graphical department. Nothing going on is super interesting in terms of its visuals, but that’s far from unheard of in rhythm games. It’s not like Guitar Hero looked great or had anything amazing going on in the background, outside of, maybe, Warriors of Rock. LOUD‘s areas do look unique though, and, at the very least, the different segments of the game (playing in your bedroom, a garage, a venue) don’t just feel like simple reskins of one another. It runs fine as well.
LOUD doesn’t feel like it was trying to copy the myriad of other rhythm-based games released over the years. It does feel like its own thing. The way the story is built feels much more like a personal story, making it feel more unique than other games in the genre. On top of that, it feels relatable, and anyone can understand whether it’s for the style of music, wanting to be a musician, or just having a passion for anything that you need inspiration for. Not to mention the excellent gameplay and ever-evolving difficulty curve, making it a really addictive and replayable game, where you’ll want to replay your favorite songs over and over again.
While the different segments of the game thankfully aren’t reskins, they still aren’t overly interesting to look at. Luckily they’re basically just backgrounds to the actual game.
The actual gameplay is a lot of fun, learning each song is pretty much the only way you’ll be able to hit every note on higher difficulties. The replayability of LOUD is great.
The evolution of music in LOUD is incredible and the music written for the game is perfect. Nothing else needs to be said.
Fun Factor: 9.5
LOUD is a spectacular rhythm-based game that takes a lot of practice to really ace. Just like other rhythm games, you’ll definitely want to spend time playing the songs you enjoy over and over again.
Final Verdict: 8.5
LOUD is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of LOUD was provided by the publisher.