From a variety of different songs to ways to customize your experience, Superbeat: Xonic has a lot to offer fans of the rhythm genre. But what really caught my eye was that it also featured collaboration with developer Arc System Works, known for fighting games like Guilty Gear and Blazblue. As part of this collaboration, “Heavy Day,” the theme song of Guilty Gear Xrd can be unlocked fairly early on in the game, so naturally I had to take it for a spin.
The first thing I noticed was that “Heavy Day” presented a pretty big step up in difficulty. At least it was for me, as I was just starting to get a grip on the game. I had just weaned myself off the 4Trax difficulty and graduated to 6Trax, and either overconfidence or a just a strong desire to play the song pushed me into challenging “Heavy Day” on 6Trax right off the bat. Either way, as soon it started I realized I was in over my head.
Crazy scratch notes and demanding hand coordination are the name of the game here. The very start of the song requires you to play large scratch note on one side of the screen and regular notes on the other, constantly alternating as the song goes on. To top it all off, the notes come in fast and furious. As a relative newcomer, doing well at this song took a lot of practice and adjustment on my part.
Visually, “Heavy Day” also stands out from the rest of the Superbeat: Xonic soundtrack. Usually the background of every song you play has psychedelic visualizer effects full of strange lights and flashy colors. Instead, “Heavy Day” gets accompanied by actual footage from Guilty Gear Xrd. The way the footage gets presented is lot closer to the DJ Max style of background video compared to everything else in the game.
It’s actually interesting on how that changes the experience, too. I almost never noticed the visualizer stuff in the other songs, and I have to think that’s intentional. The visuals subtly add to the experience without distracting you. But as I was playing “Heavy Day,” I constantly caught myself peeking at the footage in the background. Whether it’s better or worse overall is hard to say. I don’t think it would have been as big of a deal if every song in Superbeat: Xonic had movies like this, but “Heavy Day” definitely feels like a totally different experience because of it.
Currently, “Heavy Day” is the only Arc System Works song in the base game. Everything else ArcSys-related comes in the form of unlockable DJ icons that grant you special effects like experience point boosts and faster health recharges. Fortunately, more songs are promised to be coming through DLC updates. It took some practice, but I had a lot of fun playing through “Heavy Day,” and I’m personally very excited to play what’s coming next from this collaboration.