Cute Chronicles – Currently Playing Groove Coaster

Su-per psychedelic rhythm-action time!

At the moment I’m a little bit obsessed with Groove Coaster. It’s been a while since I’ve played a more serious rhythm action game.

Groove Coaster made its arcade debut in Japan a few months ago, in November 2013. Displays promoting its imminent arrival littered arcades with posters and screens with an annoying but rather catchy theme song and trailer featuring a girl in a school uniform flying through a spectacular digital world. The arcade cabinet in itself is a large, four-player set capable of link and solo play with rather handy ‘sound screens’ between each cabinet, very useful when you’re playing a game that relies so heavily on being able to hear the music. In front of the player are two large button/joysticks that could be used individually or together. I personally preferred to use both because I’m a boss like that and on the more difficult levels it was necessary to make movements fast enough.

The arcade cabinet. Click to read a review of the event where the arcade game debuted.
The arcade cabinet. Click to read a review of the event where the arcade game debuted.

When I first played Groove Coaster, it blinded me a little bit in the best of ways. The game involves a little avatar carrying on a single track, the ‘groove coaster’ in question and as it travels, you have to make the relevant movements as it crosses over certain markers on the track. The avatar and the track are in simple line styles but there is always something crazy going on in the background as your avatar travels this coaster. The backgrounds are like what Taito did when they brought about Space Invaders Extreme – bursts of colour and shapes that complement and follow the beat. The game also has a flavour of Rez about it with the art style – there are a lot of one-colour lines, simple 2D shapes or wireframes and your movements affect the music. Mistime things and the music will stutter, do well and you’ll see little bursts of colour and patterns around your avatar.


I fell head over eyeballs. Unfortunately, I had to return to the UK and was cruelly ripped away from my new arcade rhythm-action love. Thankfully, Groove Coaster Zero is available on the App store and is the same game, albeit without the fun of playing it on a huge machine with a screen that consumes your entire vision. Groove Coaster is the original game which was released in 2011 which is paid for, but Zero (released in 2012) is free-to-play with in-app purchases for extra songs. Thankfully, you don’t really have to buy the extra songs since Zero gives you a very decent set and rewards you with unlockables as you play. A cute feature of Zero is occasionally you’ll get a preview pop up where you’re given one free playthrough of a paid-for song so you can see what it’s like before you buy. They’re rare and at random from what I can tell but still, it’s a nice gesture. Just be warned that with all of the songs in the game you’ll have to wait for them to download before you play them for the first time.


Groove Coaster/Groove Coaster Zero is psychedelic in places but very pretty. The music is also mostly trance/dance/techno, just the right genre for a rhythm action game loosely themed around a cyber adventure. My only complaint is that it’s better to play on an arcade machine because you can’t beat having giant buttons but the iPad version is still pretty good. Give it a try if you’re looking for a rhythm-action fix but don’t forget to take frequent breaks to rest your eyes and your fingers. I’ll be trying to 100% my favourite song, the video for which is below, in the meantime.



, ,




Leave a Reply