Klang – PAX East 2016 Hands-On Preview

Regardless of your preferred input method, whether it be touchscreen, controller, or fake plastic instrument, most rhythm games are pretty much just pressing buttons when prompted. Tom-Ivar Arntzen, Art & Game Designer (and sole employee) of Tinimations, was tired of simply inputting commands. Inspired by titles like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry, Tom attempted take the basic concept of a rhythm games and make an action platformer.

Klang is a 2D platformer with a striking art style similar to Outland. While dual wielding “tuning fork blades,” you’re tasked with traversing levels with the left stick while both avoiding dangers and bouncing attacks back at enemies with the right stick (or face buttons). Klang’s platforming feels fast, fun, and responsive, with character moves reflective of Ninja Gaiden and Strider. The rhythm portion of the game also felt appropriately forgiving, utilizing a meter that helped me gauge when to wait, and when to strike.

(Klang, Tinimations)

Although the multiple layers of gameplay (both rhythm and platforming) were introduced one at a time, it still took me quite a while to be able to attain the level of mental multi-tasking required to successfully avoid taking damage while chaining together attacks. A letter grade based on performance is then provided at the end of each level, to encourage replay, much like in other combo-based action platformers. Just like in high school music class, however, I was a C student at best. Players proficient in managing multiple patterns in their head (like actual musicians) would probably have a much easier time of it.

Aside from my own personal lack of rhythm, my only complaint with the game was that I was provided little to no information during the entire demo. I often had no idea where to go or what to do in each level, and it was never really clear when I was even taking damage. I’m all for not holding the player’s hand and letting them figure things out for themselves, but in a game doing something completely new (like attempting to combine two very different genres into one experience), a little information would have been nice. It should be important to note however that what I played was not reflective of the final build and this could very easily change before the game is released.

Klang was recently Greenlit on Steam and will be available on PC, Mac and Linux in Q2 or Q3 of this year for under $20. A console port is also likely, but has yet to be confirmed.

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