Gamers had tons of titles to choose from this fall, including Fallout 4, Halo 5: Guardians, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, and a whole lot more. But these last few weeks have been remarkably slow for new releases, thanks to the holidays and the usual January doldrums. If you’re looking for a new game to play right now, one title stands above the rest: Amplitude. Trust me, you’re going to want to give this PlayStation 4 game a look.
Amplitude is a neon-soaked music game that matches pitch-perfect gameplay with trippy electronic tunes. The idea is to press buttons in time with the music, hopping from one instrument to the next without missing a beat. Still need convincing? Here are six reasons you should be playing it.
1. It’s a music game without plastic instruments
Developer Harmonix made Amplitude, but you probably know the company best for its work on Rock Band. Nothing against Rock Band and its sequels, but they’re a lot more than just simple video games. They come with a mountain of plastic instruments that take up so much space you might need to build an extra wing on your house.
By contrast, Amplitude offers many of the same pleasures of Rock Band, but without the unsightly clutter. All you need to play it is the standard game controller you already have.
2. It’s affordable
Not only do other music games like Guitar Hero Live and Rock Band take up a bunch of space, but those plastic instruments don’t come cheap. They’re made of plastic sturdy enough to withstand chaotic jam sessions, and they’re filled with high tech components to send signals to your console in a fraction of a second. That’s why those games cost roughly the price of a yacht. (But seriously, the full band set for Rock Band costs $250).
Amplitude, on the other hand, is a $20 digital game for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. Think of all the yachts you could buy with the money you save.
3. It’s all about flow
There’s a concept called “flow” that people can achieve while playing certain games. When you attain a state of flow, you focus so intently on the game that the physical world melts away and time becomes elastic. All that remains is your fingers on the buttons.
Amplitude is a perfect conduit to a state of flow. With the otherworldly neon visuals, the pulsing electronic beats, the simple controls, and the vacuum of focus required to succeed at higher difficulty levels, Amplitude is one of the best trips you can take without using mind-altering substances.
4. The multiplayer is bananas
While you don’t need a storage shed full of plastic instruments to play Amplitude, you can still play it with other people. Up to four players can pick up controllers to join in on the madness. You can do free-for-all matches, where everyone vies for the highest score, or you can do team play, which works better with a group of people with mixed experience with the game.
Any way you slice it, multiplayer matches can quickly become cut-throat affairs, thanks to power-ups you can use to disrupt your friends’ play. Keep your eyes on the track, be ruthless, and try not to miss a beat.
5. It’s surprisingly strategic
The game is based on points. How many points can you rack up in any given song? It depends on several factors. You get one point for each note you hit, but if you can play for a while without messing up, you’ll accrue score multipliers. Playing a song on a higher difficulty level gives you more notes — which translates into higher potential scores — but you’re more likely to mess up when more notes are streaming at you.
Is it better to try the lower difficulty and rely on multipliers to attain a high score, or should you play the song on a higher difficulty and hope you don’t miss notes? There’s only one way to find out.
6. There’s not much competition
It’s no exaggeration to say that Amplitude is excellent, but let’s face it: The games launching in January aren’t all that thrilling. There are a few that might be hidden gems for fans of certain genres, but based on what I’ve played, Amplitude is the best thing going so far this year by a long shot. It’s a great gaming experience at a reasonable price, so why not try it out?