Review: Inside my Radio (Wii U)
Rule #1 – DON’T PLAY ON MUTE. That’s the very first thing you’re told as you start up Inside my Radio. It’s also the third point you’ll find when browsing the electronic manual. They’re serious about not turning down the sound in this game. Why’s that? Because you’re about to experience a rhythm-based game that’ll have you literally bopping to the music.
Slave to the music
There’s been plenty rhythm-based games on various formats, but there’s never been one quite as unique as this game. Inside my Radio tasks three characters (Boombox, Barry and Root) to make their way through the innards of a radio. What you have here is a rhythm-action platformer adventure title that borrows from Rez, Loco Roco and Super Meat Boy. Boombox brings the dubstep techno vibe, Barry follows that up with his glasses, cool hairstyle and house tunes and Root is your very stereotypical black guy who listens to reggae beats.
Everything happens to the beat in a world made up of bright and abstract rhythm-like backdrops. Your characters can jump, walljump, double jump, dash and slam, but the trick here is that you can only do it to the beat. This requires you to be in time with the music at all times. Lose track of the tempo and you’ll miss time a jump or dash and fall to your death. Like Super Meat Boy you’ll instantly revive at a checkpoint and try again without having to wait for a loading screen. It’s one of those typical Indie titles you simply can’t put down. But it’s not all as simple as it seems.
Push the volume to the max
Things can get rather tough. Combining a jump, followed by a dash (while keeping in tune with the tempo) is a lot harder than it sounds and at the end of the game you have a boss battle of note to contend with. You’ll also get to move platforms using the ZL and ZR shoulder buttons to confuse matters a bit more and tackle some basic puzzles. That said, at no point do you feel that it’s unmanageable. Should you have a rough time keeping up with the tempo you can tap the R button to display a rhythmic GUI help bar around your character so you never miss a beat. The real star of the show depends on your sound equipment at home though.
Throughout my experience I turned the volume close to max, as I was having the time of my life. Progress through the stage as Root (our reggae fella) and he’ll dash and slam cassette tapes into place, adding a new instrument to the beat every time he does so. It’s this simple form of progression through the use of sound that makes it such a joy to play. Combine it with good platforming and you have something that’s close to perfection. There is however a beat or two out of sync.
Inside my Radio is not a very long game and will last you just under four hours. Once completing it there’s not much to return to other than Time Attack or replaying some of the stages for fun via the Song Selection menu. There’s a good chance you’ll return to the game for a second playthrough as it’s just so enjoyable. Inside my Radio is a testament that Indie games have an important role to play in the games industry. It’s filled with love, psychedelic beats and if it was up to me I’d stay inside my radio all day long.