Normally, I wouldn’t write full reviews on demos… and normally, I wouldn’t play rhythm games… but this isn’t a normal rhythm game demo… it’s a GREAT rhythm game demo, so I decided to make an exception and play UNBEATABLE [White Label] today, fail a bunch, get better, and basically write this post on it now while jamming to its phenomenal soundtrack!
Developer: D-CELL GAMES Publisher: D-CELL GAMES Genre: Anime, Story-driven, Rhythm, Adventure, Great Soundtrack Release Date: May 7th, 2021 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC Demo is available on Steam for free.
For anyone that doesn’t know UNBEATABLE is an Anime-inspired rhythm game that was recently financed through Kickstarter. The game itself is still in development but the dev team created a demo that is… actually really nice and quite polished. It’s not perfect, obviously, but it’s already very well-made and it features a bunch of beat maps and stories and will continue to receive more updates as time goes on, creating a complete stand-alone narrative consisting out of special episodic side-story sets in the world of UNBEATABLE.
Now, as far as UNBEATABLE goes, you follow a girl called Beat as well as her friends along in their journey of making music. Oh, and music is illegal in this world and you do crimes!! Hell yeah!!! The music composed by Peak Divide, RJ Lake, and Rachel Lake features a wide variety of songs that feel very Indie-Rock-ish at times but also have that certain Anime-music vibe to it that reminds me of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann’s and Kill La Kill’s Soundtrack… which is very fitting, especially as the anime-inspired aesthetic of the characters and the world also very much remind me of those two shows, which in my book is a great thing since both of those shows are great! Either way, Peak Divide composed a plethora of nice songs with a variety of mellow to rock-ish songs. There are also a bunch of interesting mixes in the soundtrack as well as a bunch of remixes of the songs. I particularly loved the track “WAITING” with its catchy refrain and this melody that I can’t get out of my head. AND OH GOD, I love that guitar solo! Like WOAH! But I also love all the other tracks from EMPTY DIARY (probably my second-favourite track) to MIRROR and FAMILIAR.
Either way, in UNBEATABLE, you play a bunch of beat maps on five different difficulties. The gameplay itself consists of only two buttons that have to be pressed, spammed, held together or independently and it gets quite nice. As you approach each map, you’ll see two lines to each side of your character and the band. The tunes or enemies as I like to call them approach you on two different tracks: The bottom track and the top track. I recommend using the gamepad as it just feels better. Using any of the “face buttons” (A, B, X, Y) allows you to jump and strike the upper track while using the D-Pad allows you to strike the lower notes, resulting in a simple but challenging experience, overall, especially if you have no feel for rhythm like me! The game will prompt you to hold buttons, beat enemies multiple times or alternate your inputs. At the same time, you’ve got a heartbreak meter. If you miss too many shots, Beat’s heart won’t take it and if that happens… you’ll have to try again from the start! That’s quite annoying but can’t be helped.
What I would have loved in Unbeatable is if the tutorial would have started on “beginner” from the get-go. Sure, handling it through dialogue is fun but I’m a first-timer here and I had no clue what I was doing wrong! At the same time, control calibration is very important, in my opinion. You can do it in the options menu but you’re not hinted at doing it until you spot it yourself, which is an issue. I have an average delay of -41ms apparently, but now that that has been re-adjusted, the game has become more doable for me. I mean, I do not “just suck” at rhythm games… I’ve been born with a condition that makes it nearly impossible to get good at rhythm games like Muse Dash, Osu! or UNBEATABLE. I mean, my hand-eye coordination is bad. I have a hard time with quick-time events – let alone rhythm games. I can hardly catch a ball properly, so… yeah, that’s annoying. BUT I’m getting there. UNBEATABLE was nearly impossible when I tried out “normal”, especially once you had to suddenly dodge traffic cones that approach you and as you had to suddenly time your attacks even better to make it, at all! So, I figured I should go to the Easy Difficulty, train up and move slowly… and it’s doable. Easy was difficult for me but I found the best hand-positioning that worked for me (UP on the D-Pad & the A button) and eventually got quite good at it. I still struggle with holding the buttons as I never realise that I need to hold them but, again, that’s on me and my bad reactions… Then I got better at it with the occasional hiccup and eventually, I moved to normal and even beat one level on Hard! I’m quite proud of myself.
And that’s actually really nice because I love UNBEATABLE [White Label] to bits and wanna be better at it, in time for the full release! The difficulty curve is there. Easy takes practice unless you’re used to these games. Once I was quite good at that with a 68% accuracy on average, I moved up to Normal and had to focus a whole lot on that. At the same time, when I beat that, I tried my hardest to get better before moving up and it’s gradually becoming more and more challenging but I feel like the steps are manageable. It’s nice to see a difficulty curve instead of a difficulty spike. And what really sets apart UNBEATABLE from other rhythm games is that there is a story. You get little side stories and background info on the characters as well as dialogue options in this demo, which is very cute and wholesome and made me nostalgic as some stories reminded me of myself in the past.
Overall, it’s a free demo for a game that is probably gonna come out soon and it feels BAD to play this for free. I would have paid money for this demo. But it’s free and if you really want to support the devs, you can buy the AMAZING soundtrack on Steam as well! The graphics look stunning with this Kill La Kill esque art style and character design, the soundtrack is amazing, and the visuals feature a VHS filter that you can also turn off if it bothers you. I personally loved the presentation to bits! I can highly recommend checking out UNBEATABLE [White Label] for yourself if you haven’t yet, even if you’re not the biggest rhythm game fan!