Inside My Radio Review
I chalk it up to Hodgkin's Law of Parallel Development. I finish reviewing Crypt of the Necrodancer, jump into Inside My Radio, and immediately find that I am playing another recently released game in which you must time your moves to the rhythm of the background music to succeed. At least the theme changed from rogue-like to platformer to give me a touch of variety...
Inside My Radio is a bit like Tron for the boombox world. An LED must travel through the electronic worlds within a boombox in order to determine what is wrong with it and restore its ability to play music. In spite of this interesting setup there's not much to the story; its main purpose is to provide an excuse for why a brightly colored square is jumping around areas with pulsating backgrounds.
The game gives you a full set of moves that should be familiar to anyone who's played a recent platform game. Jump, wall jump, dash, ground slam, ... no surprises here. The difference with Inside My Radio, though, is that when you perform each move is just as important as where you do.
Every move beyond simply moving right or left through the game's side-scrolling levels must be done in time with a downbeat of the game's background music. Try to jump off-beat and your pixel will make a bad face but stay firmly in place, rooted to the ground. Try to approach the game strictly as you would any other platformer and you will fail, and fail often. Everything must be done in time with the music. For those who are rhythmically challenged, the game provides an optional, metronome-like aid that circles the pixel and lets you know when it's time to press a button to execute a move.
When you let the music play through you, Inside My Radio provides some pretty enjoyable gameplay moments. There's a great feeling of musical synergy when you cross a large pit on moving platforms that swing into the right place at the right time and all in time with the music. Miss a beat or two and it's like you have two left feet and you'll quickly stumble to your demise. Sometimes this transition will be your fault and at others it will sneak up on you since the game has a tendency to alter the temple as you make your way through a level. Failure is never a major setback, though, as the game will simply reset your position to the start of the platform sequence that you failed.
Take away the rhythm mechanic and Inside My Radio is a pretty basic and straight-forward platformer. All of the challenge is tied to hitting the beat, and if you are not rhythmically-challenged, then you'll breeze your way through the game. As in an afternoon breeze that lasts a couple of hours. The game does try to mix things up with a few puzzle sequences, but they're not very well designed and are easily solved quickly enough with a few random button presses.
Overall, I had a little fun with the game, but more so early on, before the basic level designs began to feel too simple and repetitive. There's a good core in place here, so it would be nice to see a sequel with more interesting level designs and a longer game length.
Final Rating: 70% - Your time inside your radio will be brief.
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.