It's super. It's crazy. And it releases this week.
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is being released for the Nintendo Switch on Tuesday, November 14th. You may not know what to expect from this rhythm/puzzle/party/action game from Konami, and that’s totally understandable; I had an hour-long hands-on session with it back in August, and still didn’t know entirely what to expect myself!
Thankfully, I was able to sit with Konami brand manager, Christian Spears, after playing the game, and he was kind enough to answer some questions to help us sort it all out.
Kirk: What would you like to say to introduce this game to people who have no idea what they’re coming into?
Christian: So, Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is an escape room-esque rhythm game where you solve different puzzles and, at the same time, play an amazing original soundtrack. You have a colorful cast of characters that you play against this mean king called King Ferdinand. He’s trying to protect his crown. He took it from prior kings. So, now you’re going through this crazy castle where he has traps and different things for you while you play music at the same time.
Kirk: I didn’t get too far into it, but there were elements where the rhythm game is happening while you’re solving puzzles.
Kirk: What’s the best way for players to handle that? Are they calling out, “You do this, I’ll do this?” And how would that be handled in online multiplayer?
Christian: So, there is online multiplayer, couch co-op, and single player. For single player, the goal is to have really good multitasking abilities where you’re bouncing back and forth trying to solve each of these different issues. One of them is blocking the meter from moving while you’re trying to do the rhythm portion. So, you have to be really, really quick deciding how you’re going to get certain things done. Timing’s going to matter.
For multiplayer, we’ll talk couch co-op first.You’ve got to be really in sync and calling things out. Talking to your friends and saying, “Hey, I’m going to go get this. I’m going to go get this.” And sometimes, you might have that friend who’s like, “No, I’m going to get this,” and it creates all this back and forth fun.
Online co-op definitely will add a little bit more chaos and craziness to it. But, definitely, some people—even as we saw here—were really in sync and it just worked out for them. Even with that chaos, it’s part of the fun. Even if you don’t have that sync online, you’re still trying to figure out how to get everything done, and people can try to call things out from there.
Kirk: Do you think the game will work well for those playing in solo mode?
Christian: Definitely. I definitely believe it’s a great game to play by yourself. It’s the characters you end up seeing along the way. Solving different puzzles. Playing the music and just vibing out to it. There’s also a game lab where people can sit and just listen to music and do those types of things. So, there’s a lot for them to just do by themselves.
Kirk: Most of the rhythm games you play, if you miss something you’re getting penalized for it. Here, you have to stop what you’re doing and solve some of the puzzles. Are you getting penalized for that in the meantime? You have to do it fast?
Christian: You definitely gotta move fast. You can’t just let the rhythm keep going on and on and let the thing stop you because then you’re not going to be able to progress. You do need to keep making sure you’re multitasking and your speed is gonna be up there. So, for some players, definitely start off slow and then replay it and try to play it even faster than that.
Kirk: When I was playing it, I was unfortunate enough to get awarded “Pro.” Moving from three buttons to four completely changes the dynamic of the game, but you can bounce back at any time?
Christian: Yeah, you can switch that. You can switch from Pro to Regular just in case it’s maybe like, “Hey, you know what? I didn’t know what I was bargaining for.” [Laughs.]
Kirk: Is four buttons the most you’re going to deal with at a time, or does it get even more complicated than that?
Christian: At the moment, it’s four. Hopefully with feedback, if people want to go even higher and higher we can definitely consider that.
Kirk: Talk a little bit about the design of this world. It’s very…surrealistic, for the most part. Instruments evolve and push you around. What was going through my head—and it’s a bad comparison, but I’ll make it anyway—was that it’s an odd mixture of Yellow Submarine and an episode of Tiny Toons smashed together. Teen Titans Go, not Tiny Toons!
Christian: I actually liked the Tiny Tunes thing! I love animation. I love Tiny Tunes. I think that’s a really cool observation. Depending where your perspective is, you’ll definitely see it as something else you can compare to. It’s so…surreal, yeah, I guess would be best. You’re within this castle that has piano keys running down it. You have a hand grabbing out. All these weird, little different characters about it. It’s one of those games where you do have to experience it. Explaining it doesn’t do it justice.
Kirk: At the beginning of the game, there was a character we kept meeting. She was telling us things, but I didn’t get to see how she gets involved. Is that something that gets worked into the story? Are we going to get a big tale or is it like just bouncing between levels?
Christian: You’ll definitely get to see more of that character!
Kirk: OK, any other characters along the way? How deep does the roster get?
Christian: There are a lot of characters; a huge, colorful cast you get to interact with. You have people like Egger who’s the safety manager. And you’ll have characters who battle against you as you go along. You’ll see a whole cast of characters, so I’m really hoping people get to enjoy that.
Kirk: How long is the story mode?
Christian: So, the exact timing…maybe not off the top of my head, but there’s about 30-ish levels. That gives you a good amount of time to play through the game.
Kirk: After you complete a level, do you get to go back to try to beat your score, or is it just progressing straight on through the story?
Christian: You can definitely go back and play through prior levels to try to get a higher rank. If you want to compete against yourself, you can try to do that, or go back and try to level up your stars.
Kirk: How about multiplayer mode? Is it quick games, quick battles, or is it all story progression?
Christian: Story progression, and then there’s online…kind of a battle mode where you can…play against each at the same time.
Kirk: How about the music, too? All the music is original.
Christian: Yeah, original music. And the great part about that is there are some songs that fans are gonna notice from our collection. I don’t want to spoil too much on that, but I’m really excited they’ll get to see stuff like that. [Konami] works with a lot of great people that compose different things. It’s really exciting to see music that I didn’t hear before in the game. Everything just syncs up, and I’m really excited to see that whole soundtrack go live.
Kirk: The songs are pretty lengthy, too. Three minutes? Four minutes?
Christian: Just about, yeah…roughly anywhere from closer to two minutes to three minutes from time to time depending upon what the song is. That’s a key part of it. I love music, and it’s really great to just kind of vibe out as you play through this weird little castle.
Kirk: We talked while playing the game, and you obviously have a favorite [playable] character. How about a favorite level? Is there anything further on where you’re like, “This just totally clicks?”
Christian: I wish I could say the level out loud! [Laughs]
Kirk: But there is one!
Christian: There’s a really fun one, yeah, yeah, yeah! There’s a part in the trailer where you have these characters and, like, a chili pepper kind of going, “What! What!” I can’t really talk too much about it, but it is one of my favorite levels.
Kirk: Is it the music that does it? Is it the gameplay?
Christian: It’s music, gameplay. it’s just a funny –
Kirk: So, the whole thing just comes together.
Christian: It just works perfectly. And that’s why, weirdly enough, my favorite character is my favorite character.
Kirk: Alright. Let’s talk about the difficulty of getting a game like this on Nintendo. People think of certain franchises, certain IPs, and that’s what gets all of the attention. How hard is it to get a game like this in front of people when they may not have any experience with it?
Christian: You know, with titles like Super Crazy Rhythm Castle, this is a title where people get to see just how different it really is, and hopefully they enjoy it.
Kirk: To help them along, what’s the more appropriate superlative for the game: super or crazy?
Christian: You know, I definitely gotta say crazy. I think crazy is definitely a part of it. The “super” complements it so perfectly. It is crazy, it’s super crazy. You can’t just say “crazy.”
Kirk: Crazy is not enough.
Christian: Yeah, yeah, yeah; crazy is not enough! People are going to have to experience it and just enjoy it from there.
We at Pure Nintendo would like to thank Konami for inviting us to try out Super Crazy Rhythm Castle. Thanks to Christian, as well, for sharing his enthusiasm for this highly unique entry in the Switch’s catalog. Keep your eye on the Nintendo eShop this Tuesday, and be sure to watch for our full review this week.
Spoiler alert: We like it!