Cosmophony sounds great on paper: a rhythm based tunnel shooter with some thumping tunes written by Salaryman, a French DJ and producer, which build up as you progress through the levels and shoot stuff in your way. And sure enough there’s a good, challenging game in here which rewards patience and determination. That is, right up until the point where it stops far too soon.
But let’s back up a bit, Cosmophony is one of those rare breed of games which use eye-melting visuals to both draw you in and distract you in equal measure. It’s one part annoying, two parts mesmerising, and certainly takes some getting used to. Give it a few games though and you start to subconsciously dial out the distractions, focusing so much on your controlled craft that everything else being thrown at you just bounces off your eyes and into the realm of unimportant screen-junk. Between the rhythm of the music, the blocks which need shooting away and trying to avoid the obstacles heading your way at an ever increasing speed it’s impossible not to get drawn in and not blink for a couple of minutes, and considering a concentration lapse of so much as a single second could end everything there and then, it’s important to keep your wits about you.
The music itself is very cool, and while certainly not the type of music I’d listen to by choice definitely matches the game style perfectly. The pulsing beats actually help you time your shooting and flicking through gaps, although the sudden tempo changes in the later levels certainly add a devious and unexpected twist, leaving you scratching your head for the first few tries while you try to remember when these various speed bursts appear.
That’s because you’ll need to remember so much. Where the gaps appear in the tunnel, where the blocks are to shoot, whether to slide left or right just before that tricky sequence of moves… one wrong memory, one wrong flick of your left thumb and the whole level is ruined. It’s unforgiving, occasionally frustrating too but incredibly rewarding when it all slots into place. The practice mode helps too, letting you flick back and forward between sections to try to nail that tricky few seconds… but then it’s back to the one hit, one kill main mode and it all of a sudden becomes a nightmare again. If nothing else it’s a fascinating study into how panic can affect performance. The biggest issue though is the game’s length. Get to grips with the nature of the game and you’ll have finished all of the levels after a couple of hours, and while the game is only a few quid in the first place it’s a shame that there isn’t more to keep you occupied beyond what’s on offer. The game is clearly banking on you taking ages to batter your way through the rock hard levels to keep you going, and while that will work for a while it’s not going to last forever.
But, as I said, it’s under £4. If you’re a fan of music based games, and fancy something which will undoubtedly be a good challenge for pretty much anyone who decides to give it a go, then this isn’t too bad a game at all. Just be prepared to get through it quicker than you might like.
Reviewed on PS4/Vita