Fuser mixes rhythm playing skill with music mixing creativity


Harmonix is ​​no stranger to finding the groove of a catchy musical game. And after seeing more of what’s to come in Fuser, the next game from the pioneering studio behind Guitar Hero and Rock Band, I’m even more excited about the potential for a diverse, more compelling take on what games can be like. music. It’s just the party I didn’t know I needed, and it’s a party that could potentially be just as fun at home with friends, online competitively or collaboratively, and as a living experience. full-fledged musical listening. We’ve covered the basics of Fuser before – a cross between the music mixing technology of Harmonix’s awesome DropMix board game and Rock Band’s score-based challenge. But Harmonix most recently walked me through an overview of the multiplayer, freestyle, and social aspects of Fuser, and I got to familiarize myself with those modes and a few campaign levels as well. The wide variety of options, both when mixing the music and in Fuser’s overall offerings, are packed with potential, offering a lot for those who want to chase scores and rankings or those looking for a place to hang out. expressing creatively.

Sharing is loving

There is something downright happy about every aspect of Fuser. It’s not just a celebration of DJ or festival culture, but music and its limitless creativity in general. And this is evident in all the modes that Harmonix has demonstrated.

Solo acts abound, but the music is often a collaborative effort, and Fuser’s cooperative multiplayer aims to let that shine through. With up to four friends selecting the music and eight friends playing the audience role, players can come together for mini-concerts, drawing inspiration from each other’s musical choices when seated in the virtual DJ seat. Or, as a member of the audience, you can make requests, show your friends support (or confusion) in their eclectic choices, and possibly swap places with those who choose the tracks.

Screenshots of the fusion game

Everything is very low-key, creating a specially designed space for friends to virtually play together using Fuser’s licensed tracks, and it’s a space I could easily see wasting hours in, especially when the idea of ‘having friends at my house to do the same is not particularly feasible at the moment.

But when people can come, I could see Fuser’s Freestyle Mode being a permanent fixture for a gathering in need of a soundtrack. With no sheet music, no penalty for missing a beat or using an 80s track when the crowd specifically asks for the drums of a 2010 rock song, Freestyle is all about it: Freestyle.

And I’m not exaggerating to say that I wasted most of a day in Fuser’s freestyle mode, even with the demo’s limited library. My girlfriend and I swapped out a few musical selections, creating some awesome and weird mixes by mixing songs from Childish Gambino, Donna Summer, Rage Against the Machine, Sean Paul and many more. But it created an ever-captivating afternoon of music making that combined the familiarity of a licensed tracklist that past rhythm games have brought with a layered and intricate yet accessible set of mixing mechanics.Of course, not all of those mixes have to be lost in time – Fuser lets you take snapshots of mixes you particularly like to use and bring with you later performance in the various game modes, as well as share your mixes with one or the other. In-game social network from Fuser or your own social media feeds. Music is something to share, and it’s wonderful that Fuser has built-in tools to help make this process so easy. In Freestyle mode, you can choose to record a fairly long sample of your mix. And if you’re not happy with the results while you’re recording, it even lets you go back and tweak the mix, so you can pretend that the drop in the vocals of “Never Gonna Give You Up” didn’t happen. never produced out of nowhere.

Switch to Groove

If you are looking for something with a little more structure, Fuser has a full campaign, which not only features a series of challenges with different objectives both to please the crowd and achieve a star rating, but also to teach you them. tricks of the trade. of the many musical options of Fuser.

You can just define different parts of songs, of course, but Fuser allows players to sample a variety of instruments and create loops, add sound effects like delay sync, stepping, and more. , as well as specific muted or solo tracks. This not only multiplies the number of options players have, but it can end up feeling like a lot to keep track of everything at the same time.

Screenshots of the fusion festival

Fortunately, Fuser’s campaign distributes each new mechanic over time, allowing you to familiarize yourself with all aspects, while also offering Freestyle on the side so you can use these new skills in a freeform environment without scoring. The campaign itself is largely a series of performances at various festivals, but each one brings its own charm and musical sensibility. Different festival promoters show you the ropes at each stage of the festival, representing different educational backgrounds and musical tastes, which can speak to some of the challenges you will encounter.

But it also talks about that musical universality that seems so intrinsic to Fuser, and the appreciation it can bring when discovering new favorite songs or finding an unexpected layer to what makes a hit that you. like so big. Fuser appears to be both a toy box for making music, a rhythm game, a creative music sharing experience, and a party packed in one package.

I wasted many weekends climbing the ranks to become an expert in Guitar Hero and Gold Songs in Rock Band. And after wasting a good chunk of my weekend to a demo version of Fuser, I’m pretty sure I’ll be spending many, many more weekends this fall mixing music the way I want. .

Jonathon Dornbush is senior editor of IGN, host of Podcast Beyond !, and has kept his Guitar Hero II guitar for much longer than he would like to admit. Tell him about your favorite music games on Twitter @jmdornbush.


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