In the Immortal Words of Del the Funky Homosapian, “Rhythm, you have it or you don’t, that’s a fallacy”. The rhythm based genre can really put this quote in perspective. I, for one, have a terrible sense of rhythm. I can’t even clap to the beat of a song for longer than a few verses before my timing is totally off. However, what I absolutely can do is play the hell out of a video game until I make myself good at it. This is the case with Tinimations’ rhythm-action game Klang 2.
Klang 2 is a psychedelic rhythm game that builds a neon Greece inspired world around the beats of synthwave dance music. The world is vibrant and mysterious, relaying the story of the titular Klang in his quest for revenge against the soundlord Sonus. Klang 2 employs a very minimalist art style with striking primary colors, making it easier to quickly and intuitively pick up and run with the controls. Within a few songs you grasp how the game is played and the difficulty just ramps up from there.
Each song is it’s own level, tasking Klang with using his tuneblade to attack to the beat of the music. You gather tokens in the arcade area, playing for a high score and grade on various tracks, then cash in your tokens for a boss battle that progresses the story and unlocks more tracks to play.
In broad strokes, there are 3 moves Klang uses: tap, swipe, and hold. However, when playing with a gamepad you need to aim your attacks with the left stick as Klang dashes around the screen. The screen will shake and rumble as Klang jumps, attacks, or takes a hit. All of this occurs while the screen is blazing full of neon lights and jittery movement. This adds another level of difficulty as the strobing screen during the faster tempo songs can make it tough to know your orientation and where to aim.
In addition to the difficulty in tempo changes and adjusting to laser light shows, Klang’s enemies will vary depending on the song selection. Each enemy has a type of attack and defense that will change the attacks needed to defeat them. For example, some enemies will require a flurry of quick taps while others follow patterns and need to be hit with combos accordingly.
Most importantly, the music is appropriately funky. With contributions from artists like bLiNd, Arcien, and City Girl, all 30 tracks feel distinct and provide a unique vibe that the gameplay flows into. That flow is vital to how well the game works as Klang 2 is one of the only rhythm games I have played that I could lose myself in and truly control by feeling the beat. Conversely however, if I found myself second guessing an input or hesitating I would get smacked by several attacks and immediately fail the level. It’s so dangerous to break your funky flow, it’s like taking a step out of your boat while whitewater rafting, you’ll be washed out instantly.
All of these factors compile to make the later levels of Klang 2 an incredibly difficult experience. I am by no means an expert in the genre, I barely have any rhythm at all, so I was struggling mightily in the later half of the game. This is when I found out that there are no difficulty options or sliders in Klang 2 other than to make the tempo faster. So you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, being tasked to finally develop a sense of rhythm good enough to carry you through some pretty hectic fights.
Despite this challenge and the many, many frustrating times I had to restart a level after fighting through the majority of the song, when everything clicked together it felt amazing. It was like my hands were making moves before I could think; I felt so effortlessly cool battling pirates and ghosts as EDM thumped in my headphones. Klang 2 is probably the closest I will ever get in my life to recreating the Daft Punk fight scene from Tron: Legacy and I mean that as the most sincere form of flattery.
Klang 2 definitely has the ability to make you feel a real intense sense of rhythm and flow, it also can make you feel like an uncoordinated mess that couldn’t carry a beat to save your life. The lack of difficulty options tosses you into sink or swim mode and can trigger a lot of frustration. This compounded with the way that the screen strobes in more quick paced battles can give you sensory overload and really break your immersion, in turn ending your run before you can finish the song. If you are persistent enough and give yourself over to the rhythm, Klang 2 is a pure experience that just feels satisfying to make work.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Let's Get Funky
Overall - 8/10
Klang 2 offers an impeccable rhythm combat experience that feels so satisfying when it works, but the difficulty can really crush you under heel when you can’t get over the curve. Pair that with the absurd amount of action on screen during those tough segments and you have a whole lot of sensory overload on your hands.
Garett is a full time English student at Wright State University with a deep passion for gaming. He has been playing video games for as long as he can remember and that’s not even hyperbole. Read more...