When it comes to rhythm games, I am not the best at keeping the beat. That said, I really enjoy beautiful music and especially enjoy games with interactive crowds. So, Hexagroove: Tactical DJ is something I’m more than interested in: it’s a rhythm game like no other and comes complete with mini-games alongside a need to keep a crowd happy.
Unlike most rhythm games — where you need to hit a button in time with a beat — Hexagroove sees you trying to keep a crowd happy by picking out instruments that they want to hear. You’re a club DJ with a massive crowd around you, a crowd begging for fresh beats. You’ll see a few instruments in the middle of the screen, which you can toggle on and off. When these sounds become stale to the crowd, the icon becomes green and your health starts to deplete. That’s when you know it’s time to turn it off.
Blue icons, on the other hand, are ones the crowd might want. You’ll need to time your toggling with the beat, but that’s not hard as there isn’t much toggling to do. The crowd will react to what you are playing, dancing along or slowing down, depending on how you are doing. Once you have gotten the hang of this interface, you’ll start watching the crowd a bit. Sometimes, they pass around a ball that you can hit after a countdown, which will give you a bonus.
As soon as the crowd is stable and you’re really wondering what to do next, Hexagroove switches to show you a mini-game. These mini-games sometimes come with a choice in front of them that determines if you’ll play a simple level or one that is much more challenging. These games take the form of traditional rhythm games like ‘Guitar Hero’ where you need to hit the keys as they come down the road towards you or follow more unique aspects like having to follow a wavelength using the stick on your Nintendo Switch controller, tapping a button as you cross specific points and hit notes.
Once you have mastered the mini-game, you are thrown back in the club. Before you enter a mini-game, you get to decide what instruments you want on when you get back, giving you a bit of adjustment time to get back into the groove of the crowd.
When it comes to instruments in the club, the base ones you start with aren’t all you’ll have. Over time you gain new instruments, almost like building a deck, and can retire ones you don’t like. This will allow you to design your own music and shape the sound to one you find nice and appealing.
Hexagroove isn’t just a single player game, you can actually play along with up to four players, however I only played the single player version on Nintendo Switch when at the Sweden Game Arena section of Gamescom 2019. Hexagroove is one of those rhythm games that you’ll just keep playing, especially since the game changes up it’s format so often.
Hexagroove: Tactical DJ is coming out on Nintendo Switch this October, with a PC release planned for late 2020.