Rhythm-based platformers have a decent niche in the indie space between the notoriously difficult, like the rage-tastic Geometry Dash and The Impossible Game, and the friendlier (but still difficult) Beatbuddy and bit.Trip Runner. Inside My Radio fits more in the latter category, showcased at the Xbox Lounge at GDC 2015 alongside other upcoming Xbox titles like Screamride. For added acclaim, Inside My Radio has received official selections at a host of indie festivals, so it's definitely earned its place.
Framed by a fairly simply story, the game features a green LED square named Taek who just wants to fix his broken boombox. But a dark force is destroying the boombox from within, so Taek is absorbed inside and must revive the music of electro, dub, and disco to bring it back to life. In the short three-level demo, you'll unlock other character like the disco-rific Barry and the funkalicious Roots, but both of them still come in the shape of a square who can bounce and hop along a linear track.
As a rhythm-driven platformer, Inside My Radio is all about timing and nothing works without pressing the appropriate button on the beat. Jumping onto platforms, scaling walls, and slamming into barriers must all be done in rhythm to the background music. Otherwise, the character you control simply fails and typically falls to his doom from mid-air.
The Seaven Studio co-founder, Olivier Penot, mentioned that I was having far less difficulty with the rhythm-based elements, with most players taking a bit of trial and error to become accustomed to the music-driven platforming. Even so, there are plenty of checkpoints (at least in the demo) so falling into a pit or hitting one of the electricity fields isn't as punishing as other games in the genre.
In a certain light, this indie can be seen as a natural extension of Sound Shapes, if a small developer from France took its tools and turned it into a fully-fledged platformer. At various points in a level, you can control various switches and synthesizers, which will change different layers of the soundtrack to your choosing. It doesn't seem to have much impact on the gameplay itself, but it does add an element of user-created uniqueness to the level in the same way that remix tools do in Fantasia: Music Evolved. Otherwise, there will be switches that your character can flip in order to move platforms in specific directions or to form stairs based on an equalizer.
Inside My Radio releases on Steam in Q2 and will be release on Xbox One later.