MUSE DASH [Nintendo Switch Review]: Hits the Ground Running.

Robert “The DCD” Workman
@thedcd

Man. I want Muse Dash to be an anime now. I know there’s a lot of great music/rhythm games that are already on the market (looking at you, Taiko no Tatsujin), but this game easily belongs amongst the best of the bunch.

Muse takes a simple yet clever gameplay set-up, and combines it with an anime-like approach that makes it fun with each new level that you take on. It can take quite a bit to unlock content within it, but, at the very least, it’s fun to roll through as you smack enemies along to the tune of truly addictive Japanese tunes.

The game puts you in control of a heroine (more unlock as the game goes on) as you take on enemies both big and small. The goal is to smack them away to the tune of a particular song, with beats coming as enemies get closer to your “strike zones”. The closer you are to the hit, the better your score becomes. You can obviously start out on a normal difficulty as you become accustomed to the game’s controls. But as you get better, you can try a higher-up level and get closer to unlocking a new song – or, as the game puts it, “newwwwww song!”

The game features two different zones in which to strike enemies, both on the ground and in the air. It’s easy to hit in both, with both the left and right buttons on the Switch controllers used. You can also hit both together, depending where an enemy is placed. The controls are pretty accurate in terms of striking, though you may want to stick with a Pro Controller with higher-up difficulty settings. Seriously, the enemies come flying all over the place. Prepare for a challenge.

The road to Anime Expo is a lot tougher than it looks.

Along with entertaining gameplay, Muse Dash’s unlockables are firmly stacked. You’ll be able to get a number of characters and songs over the course of the game, with hours’ worth of content. Again, it can take a bit longer to get stuff than expected, but that could be appealing to some folks out there. Just be prepared to grind a bit.

At least the presentation makes it worthwhile. The visuals are a delight both on the handheld and TV screen, with cute characters popping up on the screen. Both heroes and villains alike look great, and the backdrops resemble something out of a Sailor Moon or Gundam episode from the 90’s. They aren’t too shabby at all. The post-episode rating screens are pretty cool as well, with your hero standing tall while you see where your rating stands.

And that’s what you get for throwing up!

As for the tunes, you won’t really hear any recognizable stuff here (no Babymetal, sorry), but the selectable songs are still very listenable. Some of them are a lot of fun to play along with as well. The voicework is also good, though it’s tough to make out what some characters are saying. Some subtitles would’ve been nice to have here.

Overall, Muse Dash is a fun little entry in the music/rhythm series. There aren’t any popular songs in the library that fans will recognize, and it’ll take a bit to unlock everything. But the game is a blast to play, no matter what skills you bring to the table; and the anime-style presentation is a delight. If you’re a fan of beats, or just need something different to play on the Switch, this is a game well worth pursuing. 4/5 Mad Dashes.

-Robert Workman

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