Muse Dash Review
Play as characteristic Heroines, Dash through fairy tale like stages, Dancing to the rhythm and beats, Kick those silly cute enemies into outer space!
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch, iOS
Also available for: Android, Windows (Stream)
Developer: PeroPero Games
Publisher: X.D Network inc.
Roughly a year after its original release on mobile devices in 2018, Muse Dash is now available on the Nintendo Switch. If you’ve played the game on mobile before as I had, I can safely say it plays just as well on the Switch. If you haven't played it before, or would like to know more, please read on.
Muse Dash is one of the most colourful and vibrant rhythm games you can play right now and it's the combination of its aesthetic with its simple to pick-up and play mechanics that makes it so addictive. The amount of "just one more song" moments I've had while playing Muse Dash is a testament to its addictive nature, and how easily you can get swooped into chasing high scores.
Interweaving as a pseudo-infinite-runner, Muse Dash sees the character you’re playing as running left to right on the screen with all manner of things coming at you from the opposite side of the screen. These can include monsters, cars, boss characters, laser-bullets, even assortments of lollies. All of these objects will be your ‘notes’ to hit. They appear either at ground level or in the air and you use two buttons to simply hit the notes on the ground or in the air. If you’re playing in handheld mode you can play as you do on the mobile version which is simply tapping either the left or right side of the screen. At times there will be ‘double note’ equivalents which simply requires you to press both buttons at once. Playing with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller I ended up feeling most comfortable using the back two triggers to play while docked, but you can play however you want.
Playing on iOS
There isn’t any huge changes or noticeable difference between the iOS version of Muse Dash and the Nintendo Switch version of the game. The mobile version does allow you to active ‘fever time’, which is a score-boosting period whenever you want, while the Switch version has it automatically activated for whatever reason. On iOS, the games title screen features a noticeably more fan-servicey screen than the Switch does as well.
Playing on mobile means you have to purchase the DLC packs either separately or purchase a $40 pass that will give you access to all current and future DLC. It’s a good buy in if you think you’ll be playing it that much.
The big benefit for playing on your phone over the Switch is the ability to carry the game around with you, but if you’re looking for the best version of the game the Switch’s price point with all DLC included makes it the best pick.
The only spanner thrown-in comes in the form of disappearing notes and items like saw-blades which you’ll have to jump over by pressing the air attack button. Otherwise, Muse Dash is very simple to understand, and as a very un-convoluted rhythm game, a standout to me in the genre that's usually filled with many systems to learn.
When you’re hitting every note in a level it not only feels great but also looks just as good as it feels. You get to see the game's characters punching and kicking up, down, up, down all over the level -- which looks like something out of an anime thanks to the games very colourful art style and design.
Muse Dash can quickly get addicting and with the Nintendo Switch version including all the DLC that has been added thus far, you won’t quickly run out of songs to play. There are roughly over 100 songs here and for only $32 AUD which is pretty good. All the DLC packs are open to you from the get-go, but the base games songs will unlock as you level up by playing songs. Having access to all the DLC songs makes the grind for unlocks that the base game had for unlocking new stuff basically non-existent.
The songs themselves may be what turns a lot of people off Muse Dash from the outset because there isn’t really any variety. Yes, there are lots of artists and some songs are what I’d describe as 'Pop, while others are more 'Dance' but they’re all still variations of J-Pop. So if you’re hoping for some more popular ‘Spotify Top 50’ songs here, you’re going to end up far from it.
You start Muse Dash with one of the three characters unlocked, but will quickly start unlocking the others as well as costume variations for them. You’ll also unlock Elfins which are passive buffs that do things like reduce the damage you take or increase your score faster. The skins for the characters — which are Rin, Buro and Marija — also have abilities tied to them, some passive, some not, and also can change the overall HP of the character.
The costumes also reveal why the game has a mature rating as some offer little to no clothing and ridiculous physics on-show as well as very fan service animations by the characters. I personally think it’s stupid, but I’m also well aware there’s a big audience for what can only be described as anime-boobie-games, so I'm sure developer Pero Pero Games know what they're doing, and who they're targeting.
When it arrived on my phone last year I was super-impressed with the art style and how simple it was to pick up and play Muse Dash. The simplistic, but hard to master two-button rhyme gameplay was great on my phone and on the Switch it’s just as good. If anything it’s better, simply because you can get it on your big TV screen now. My hangups remain as they were a year ago with the lack of any big variations in songs genres — even with the DLC all included here — and the cringe-inducing fan-service that's on display. Even with all that said, this is an easily recommended must-buy for Switch owners looking for a music rhythm game.
(Muse Dash code provided on Nintendo Switch for review)