This carefree scene of teens sharing a skateboard ride is actually part of the touching tale of two friends coping when one is diagnosed with a severe disease. Who said rhythm games couldn’t tell important stories?
Certainly not games like Elite Beat Agents and Deemo, a pair of emotionally-charged rhythm games that come to mind when playing the new mobile game from Valiant Hearts co-creator Yoan Fanise. Lost in Harmony’s combination of rhythmic tapping and choreographic running doesn’t always come together well, but its heart is in the right place.
Mind the abrupt ending to the video, technical glitch.
Players control Kaito, a teenager whose best friend Aya is dealing with a serious illness. The story unfolds through text messages sent and received between levels.
As the news grows more and more dire, Kaito imagines carrying his friend through good times and bad in the game levels proper.
Accompanied by extended mixes of mostly classical fare (though Wyclef Jean provided an exclusive track for the game), players alternate between dodging incoming obstacles with taps and finger swipes...
...and more standard timed tapping on spots that appear on the screen. The combination of these two mechanics feels clumsy at times—it can be hard to switch between the two when you’re in the groove. Between the gorgeous music arrangements and the scenery reflecting it, getting into the groove is quite easy.
Nothing repeating levels and sharpening one’s focus can’t help. Headphones are also a must. Definitely don’t try to play while recording a video with commentary. That’s ridiculous.
Adding ongoing value to the $3.99 iOS download is the ability for players to create courses using their own music.
Of course Guile’s theme is there.
Lost in Harmony (I keep wanting to call it Lost in Blue) is incredibly sweet. It’s a bit clumsy at times, but I can overlook a little clumsy in my rhythm game when the rest of it is all about love.