spin rhythm xd

Spin Rhythm XD PS5 Review – Addictive And Approachable Arcade Rhythm

Spin it to win it.

The product of a talented bunch in our very own city of Melbourne, Spin Rhythm XD has more than earned its reputation as a fantastic take on arcade rhythm games that’s easy to pick up and fiendishly addictive in the pursuit of mastery. And now, it’s ready for a whole new swathe of players.

While there’s a heap I could say about Spin Rhythm XD that’s already been said as it made its way across other platforms, the focus here is on the newly-launched PS5 version, and the great news upfront is that it’s a stellar way to play a stellar game. If you, like me, can claim most of your rhythm game experience from using a PlayStation controller – games like Parappa the Rapper, Bust-A-Move and Invector as loose examples – it’s great to finally have this banger title come home. Crucially, it also represents the game’s debut as a VR title with PS VR2 support (along with a Steam VR update for the existing PC version of the game).

spin rhythm xd

If you’ve ever played the PC or Switch versions of Spin Rhythm XD, you’ll pretty much know what you’re in for here. The game takes the idea of matching notes on a scrolling “highway” and puts a unique twist on by having you spin a wheel at the bottom of the track to alternate between two colours – rather than just assign them each a button. Add in sections that require you to flick the wheel hard in either direction and special bar notes that introduce a second button, and you’ve got a refreshingly tactile and easy-to-pick-up system that’s incredibly challenging and satisfying to master at a high level.

It’s one of those rare arcade rhythm games that genuinely feels made for a controller, which bodes well for the PlayStation release. It’s also a super customisable experience, allowing players to adjust everything from the control layout, to the inertia of the wheel and even how the wheel is driven – gyro and touch pad are both viable options on the DualShock/DualSense and both have their own unique advantages versus the analogue stick. Drilling down further, you’re able to tweak things like visual guides and feedback, track and menu colours and even how things look after you miss a note. There’s a level of personalisation that I’m yet to experience in a rhythm game and it’s incredibly refreshing.

spin rhythm xd

Of course, a rhythm game is going to live or die by its soundtrack offering and thanks to a couple of years on the market via PC and Nintendo Switch, Spin Rhythm XD is launching on PlayStation with a stacked catalogue. There are some great names here for anyone into EDM and chiptune-adjacent beats, from Anamanaguchi to Hyper Potions, Panda Eyes, Lena Raine, 2 Mello, Tokyo Machine, and a whole heap more. Each track seems carefully-chosen to ensure playing them with the game’s unique controls feels immersive and performative, which is all you can ask for in a game like this. There’s a good ceiling for difficulty, too. I found that “Hard” was the sweet spot for me, though tracks still ramp up in actual challenge based on a numerical rating to give you a more granular indication, and there are two steps up from there.

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About the only way that Spin Rhythm XD threatens to fall flat on PlayStation is true of its earlier iterations, and that’s a lack of play modes. There’s really only one option – to pick a track and play it. A game like this doesn’t need a lengthy campaign or anything extravagant, but an option or two to play it any other way (multiplayer, for instance) would have been welcome. There’s definitely enough here for completionists with unlockable tracks and cosmetics to be had, and a decent list for trophy hunters, but it does feel barebones for a console effort.

spin rhythm xd

The other new wrinkle here is VR support, and while I was initially keen to see if transporting myself inside the game would be the ultimate way to play (and improve my skills), the reality isn’t as exciting. The control scheme employed is novel and makes sense in the context, with players also drumming the notes with the Sense controllers as they grab-and-spin the wheel, but I was really hoping for something more free-wheeling and with less emphasis on pointing. It’s a fun distraction if you’re looking for a new way to play and definitely ups the immersion factor considerably, but it’s far from the definitive Spin Rhythm XD experience.

spin rhythm xd
Unsurprisingly, Spin Rhythm XD is as good on PlayStation as it has been on other platforms. It's a top-tier arcade rhythm title that's remained sorely underappreciated, a fact that will hopefully change with this release. With novel mechanics, a banging playlist, fantastic options for gameplay customisation and a fun (if strange) VR mode, there's never been a better spin on this experience.
Still the same excellent arcade rhythm gameplay
Hugely customisable and approachable
Banging selection of tracks
VR support is a novel way to play
PS VR2 controls could be better
A new mode or two would've been appreciated