26th Mar2019

Digital Shorts: ‘Lyrica’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at Lyrica, a wonderful rhythm game now available on the Nintendo Switch.

lyrica-screen

Lyrica is a brand-new music game that has Chinese poetry as its theme and flows between modern and ancient China, allowing players to enjoy musical pieces that are fusions of the classical Chinese poetry of Li Bai and Du Fu with modern music such as rock, ballad, and jazz.

There are three modes, Story, in which the stories of modern and ancient China are intertwined; Songs, in which players can freely play pieces; and Challenge, in which players take on the challenge of clearing difficult requirements. By achieving “Achievements”, additional components will be unlocked, including more musical pieces that can be chosen after clearing various requirements – up to 57 various songs. The 57 pieces that can be played are not only based on Chinese poetry, they are also inspired by the music of the indigenous people of Taiwan and Japanese pieces are also available, and the content also allows more people to become familiar with ancient Chinese literature as an entry to learning about it.

What raises Lyrica above other rhythm games, beyond the fascinating song choices, is the style of gameplay. Yes, you still have the “tap on a note” style of control system but the game also allows you to sweep across the touch screen with your finger, actually drawing out Chinese calligraphy! Plus, unlike its musical brethren, Lyrica is almost the antithesis of rhythm games – its calming and soothing where other games cause anxiety and tension. Here it feels like you almost don’t care about hitting the notes perfectly, its more about the experience: the visuals, the sounds, the glimpse into another culture…

Of course this IS a rhythm game and as such there’s plenty of familiarity in the gameplay, so much so that you can (if you so wish) skip the tutorial and figure out the more intricate controls, such as the aforementioned sweeping notes, on the fly. Plus the myriad of options available makes it easy to customise the game to your play style – you can choose from 3 difficulties, 3 play modes (including a story mode), and even change the speed of the game. But still, the big selling point of Lyrica is the music – there is LITERALLY nothing like this game on any other console; it’s tranquil gameplay and wonderful, vast library of songs making this a one of a kind release!

Lyrica will be available on the Nintendo eShop on March 28th.

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