Hexagroove: Tactical DJ is a unique addition in the rhythm-based genre. Rhythm-based games will require players to press the button in a timely fashion based on the prompts on the screen. Unlike traditional streamlined games from the genre, Hexagroove mixes the formula a bit. You need to create loops that your crowd with enjoy. Successfully timing loops will fill out the Euphoria meter which will move the game forward before your health runs out (yes, this one has a health meter). Selected tracks can either be done in a selection of Techno genres such as trance, IDM, electro, deep house, etc…
You’ll start off songs with a circle where you’ll see various icons representing various techno loops. You need to activate them (i.e. changing them to blue) so it creates a beat. Once the loop icon is blue, leave it be, it means the crowd, the hexagon people, are enjoying it. You can always re-enable them only when they are grey, green or red. If not all the loops are blue, you’ll see a member of the crowd request it. If you let the notes dry out and the crowd starts requesting greyed out icon, hexagons will keep requesting them until you activate them. So if you press the button when you see the first and it doesn’t work, it’s either because of the lag input (even after calibration).
Once you get a beat going, you’ll be prompted to have a crowd member bounce a ball on their head. You’ll see a countdown from 3 and then after one, you’ll need to press B with perfect timing to get the ball bouncing as long as possible. Once you get the beat going, the game will switch it up a bit by requiring players to activate every icon before the newly added timer runs out. Once you’re done, you’ll be prompted to press RB to continue. What comes next is random; you’ll either get a traditional tunnel where you have to press the face buttons and d-pad arrows prompted on-screen or simply point the light with the left joystick forward and follow the path of the tunnel without going outside the borders.
Once the song reaches its end, you’ll have two possible choices. Finish your track with a bang or a simple fade out. There aren’t many differences between both as you’ll end up on an on-rail track where you’ll need to keep the light on track without going out of line.
The game’s biggest problem is the lack of a proper and clear tutorial. There’s an option that will explain how to work, but won’t actually show you how, so you’ll be thrown into the mix of things without knowing what you’re doing. Before starting every song, there’s a practice option, but given the game’s clear lack of guidance, it’s a bit useless. You have to learn as you go so it might take a while before the game feels fun. Also, it feels like you’re doing random shit as most of the button presses don’t match the song; which is the traditional mechanic of rhythm-based games.
Hexagroove: Tactical DJ’s presentation is definitely a spectacle. The great looks great and is properly colorful. While most “arenas” are pretty similar, given that you need to pay attention as to what you need to do, it does the job well. However, I would’ve enjoyed human characters instead of random hexagons in the crowd. The soundtrack is definitely bopping and varied as it features artists from Japan, Sweden, and the Netherlands such as Mr. YT (Yuji Takenouchi), missingsoul, Legowelt, CYLON, Runners Club 95, no. 9, SEXY-SYNTHESIZER, DÉ DÉ MOUSE, Kristoffer Wallman, lallow, DISPOSABLE, Junya Nakano, and Yasuo Sato. The game features a plethora of deep house, trance, IDM, techno tracks which will definitely get you in the game.
As a fan of the rhythm genre, I was hopeful to play something new with Hexagroove: Tactical DJ. The problem is the game is a confusing mess where you never really know what you’re doing. Unlike traditional rhythm-based games such as (the much better) AVICII Invector where the objective is pretty simple (press the button prompt that appears on-screen), Hexagroove: Tactical DJ feels like a mess of random mechanics. Additionally, most of your button prompt doesn’t even match the song playing so it’s pretty confusing. Overall, it’s an enjoyable experience if you can push through while you figure out how to play given the lack of a proper tutorial.
- Great soundtrack
- Some fun gameplay mechanics
- Gameplay is overall nonsensical
- Button presses doesn’t match the beat; feels like you’re doing random shit instead of playing the song