Rhythm Doctor is a one-button music game, which was inspired by Rhythm Heaven, developed by the 7th Beat Games, and published by both the 7th Beat Games and the indienova on Feb 26, 2021. Rhythm Doctor currently is available on Steam, and it is still in the Steam Early Access stage. The development team is developing more new characters, new levels, and is working to complete the entire backstory.
Official Website: https://rhythmdr.com/
The music game is designed to tap the keys to the rhythm. As a one-button music game, Rhythm Doctor is based on the simple and unique principle of pressing the keys perfectly on the seventh beat of the rhythm. This game can be played as a single-player or as a two-player. Players will receive a rating for each completed stage to determine how well they play and whether they pass the stage. As each stage passed, the story moves forward. The goal of this game is to go through the whole storyline and complete all the chapters. Depending on the player’s performance, additional bonus stages may be available.
Each stage of Rhythm Doctor is presented differently. For example, in some stages, the game will exit fullscreen mode into small window mode, and the small window will scurry across the screen like it’s infected with a virus. This mode affects the player’s line of sight, in which case the player needs to rely more on their sense of hearing, thus getting closer to the essence of the music game.
Furthermore, in some levels, for example, the player will hear multiple vocal parts at the same time, each with a different rhythm. The more complex rhythms evolve from the most basic seven beats. Players need to find the rhythm of each vocal part and press the button at the right time.
In this game, the player takes on the role of an intern doctor who treats patients by pressing buttons to the rhythm. Patients have strange and bizarre diseases, and the rhythm will have diverse themes for each character. In the process of treating them, the player is able to learn the unique story of his/her patient. Since the game is still in its early access stage, there is no clear main mission.
The game visually features pixelated art design and each stage is a song of its own. The developers have put a lot of effort into it, treating each song as a separate MV to make. The background of the game will change with the mood of the patient. Additionally, unlike other music games that have sensible visual cues, Rhythm Doctor has a lot of sophisticated visual distractions and gives the player a strong visual impact. The playing of the songs is also interspersed with conversations between the intern doctor (the player) and the attending doctor or patient, which allows the player to have an immersive experience of healing the patient.
Lens of Essential Experience
Rhythm Doctor is essentially a one-finger game of keystrokes. The basic experience that most players have is the simplicity and satisfaction that comes from mastering the perfect rhythm. This simple and brutal way of operation can easily bring players a sense of psychological gratification. In addition, the beautiful music, moving story, and exquisite pixel graphics will give players an immersive feeling and make them move for the characters in the story. This is another essential experience brought to players by the game’s aesthetics.
Lens of Freedom
Since Rhythm Doctor is still in the early access stage, many players feel unfulfilled after passing all the chapters. Fortunately, players can make their own stages in Rhythm Doctor and can use any background music they like. Rhythm Doctor will provide players with all the rhythms that have appeared in the game, such as the basic seven beats, irregular beats, hemiola beats, etc. Players can make their own dazzling visual effects similar to the official version.
Following is an example of play-made stage:
Lens of Curiosity
Although each stage of Rhythm Doctor is a separate song, the connection between the characters (the patients) is fascinating and makes players wonder where the story will go next. The game also features advanced stages (night stages), whose songs are made more difficult and complicated on the lower stages (day stages) and can only be unlocked after the lower stages have been perfectly cleared. This game mechanic takes full advantage of the player’s curiosity and desire to win, pushing the player to keep on challenging until the stage is perfectly passed.
Lens of Unification
The theme of Rhythm Doctor is consistent, through the title players will know that they need to play as a doctor in the game, their means of cure is “rhythm”. This is constantly emphasized during the game, continually reminding the player of their identity and facing all kinds of patients.