Do you like rhythm action titles? Do you like shooter games? Probably yes! But with Guitar Hero and Rock Band crumbling under the weight of their fiddly, plastic instrument success and even megalodons like Call of Duty and Battlefield losing some momentum there’s also a good chance that you’re starved for something new. Rock Band creator Harmonix are deciding to take both genres on in A City Sleeps, a female fronted rhythm action shooter that’s nightmarish in difficult, tone and in story. Clearly, it’s a bit of a weird one but with so many other games across the board waltzing in with one note gameplay, let A City Sleeps be the musical masterpiece that outdoes them all.
Introducing: A City Sleeps
In A City Sleeps we play Poe, a sleep therapist (of sorts) by day, the saviour of the world by night. After the entire city of SanLo falls into a seemingly inescapable slumber it’s up to Poe, who is also the youngest member of a group of dream exorcists named The Silk, to rescue them all from their hellish visions.
That said, it’s not going to be easy for our protagonist as Harmonix states several times in that video above that A City Sleeps is fiendishly difficult. Not even some of the people working on it can beat the game at its highest difficulty which makes me wonder if the game is possibly too hard? But then again, rhythm titles are known for coughing up challenges that make us feel like gods once we’ve beaten them so in action it could be a fair trade off.
A City Sleeps’ Focus on Bullet Hell
Gameplay is a mixed bag of classic shoot ‘em up behaviour and tactics. The enemies in A City Sleeps fire to the sound of the music and you’ll have to navigate Poe’s hitbox (the glowing orb in her chest) away from their bullets whilst simultaneously taking them out with her gun, melee attacking them right in their nightmarish faces or using a giant red sword ‘bomb’ to take them all out.
That seems to be an impossible task given how many of their weapons fill the screen but the two ‘idols’ might make it the tiniest of smidgens easier. Using Poe’s three familiars – Mercy (for health), Master (tactical offense) and Anger (offense) – you can place her little helpers into either the fast or slow idol (you can choose two familiars to help you at any one time) to spit out damage, healing powers or tripwires and make your job a hell of a lot easier.
From that gameplay demo it’s my understanding that you’ll need some good practice of the tactics and a decent understanding of each individual song to be even a little bit good at A City Sleeps, which means that we’re in a for a lot of replays. It’s certainly an interesting concept and Harmonix are the best team to pull something this imaginative off so I’d keep my on this if I were you.
A City Sleeps will be out on October 16th but it’s available for pre-order now (at 15% off the RRP) on Steam.