I don’t often play rhythm games. I used to play the drums before my carpal tunnel got in the way, so you’d think these would click with me more, but aside from mini-games, they don’t. However, I was a bit surprised at how difficult it was for me to walk away from Rhythm Doctor at IndieCade 2017.
The game is fairly simple in concept: tap the right button on the seventh beat. What stood out to me, however, is that you’re supposed to do this despite distractions from the game’s screen and music glitching out. Like a good lesson plan in school, the levels start out teaching you where the seventh beat is with consistent music and on-screen indications. As the level progresses, these not only start to disappear, but become replaced by distractions. I’m not generally used to a music game trying to test my internal beat, but once I was told to focus on internalizing the beat, it became easier. Certain levels asking you to internalize two beats at the same time, which don’t initially synch up, is even more demanding.
While Rhythm Doctor doesn’t have popular music you may be used to, tunes ranging from simple beats counting out time in Chinese to original scores made for the game were catchy, and I’d find myself tapping out (what I hope was) the seventh beat while across the hall waiting for my turn to tackle other games at the convention. Those looking to fix their internal rhythm can try the game on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and soon on the Nintendo Switch.