I wouldn’t consider myself to be a huge fan of online battle royale style games. There are a couple games in the genre that I play occasionally. Something I have been waiting for quite a while is a Mario Party style battle royale game. I have always thought a battle royale game with a bunch of silly minigames could be a lot of fun. This is why I was intrigued to check out Headbangers: Rhythm Royale when I first saw it. It genuinely looked like a Mario Party like battle royale game. Headbangers: Rhythm Royale is a fun multiplayer collection of minigames that I had quite a bit of fun playing, but its lasting appeal will depend on the community that it ends up creating.
In Headbangers: Rhythm Royale you play as a pigeon competing in a battle royale against up to 29 other players. Each tournament consists of 4 rounds of minigames. After each round the players that perform the worst are eliminated. The number of players drop from 30 to 20 to 10 and finally 5. Your goal is to be the last pigeon remaining in order to win the tournament.
In each round of Headbangers: Rhythm Royale you will be playing a different minigame. Most of these minigames involve rhythm and musical elements. Some also make use of memory, testing your reflexes, and reaction time. The controls for each game are pretty straightforward. Most involve you pressing buttons at the right time.
In addition to playing each minigame, there are a number of other things going on in the background. Occasionally a floating box will appear on the screen. The first player to press the corresponding button gets a power up. Some of these give you more crumbs (the game’s currency) or some advantage in the current minigame. Others hurt your opponents by covering up parts of the screen or messing with their controls. In each game there is also a brief period of time where you need to try and spin your head as quickly as possible. If you spin your head enough you unlock a bonus game, that you will play after the current round. This bonus game gives you more crumbs to spend in the store.
If I were to describe Headbangers: Rhythm Royale I would say that it kind of feels like a battle royale Mario Party. It doesn’t have the board mechanics, but the minigames feel similar to the games that you would see in a Mario Party game. A lot of them are based around rhythm mechanics. I don’t know if I would call Headbangers: Rhythm Royale a pure rhythm game though. A lot of the minigames have more to them than just pressing buttons to match the rhythm. Some require memorization, and others require quick reaction times.
The success of a game like Headbangers: Rhythm Royale depends heavily on its minigames. The good news is that I found most of the minigames to be quite enjoyable. Some of them I definitely enjoyed more than others, but I generally had fun with most of them. While most of the minigames share a similar feel, most of them are different enough. This keeps the game fresh as you don’t have to play the same type of minigame over and over again.
At this point Headbangers: Rhythm Royale has 23 different minigames. I have enjoyed all of the games that I have played so far. Some I would prefer playing more often than others. I will say that I have played quite a few tournaments at this point. Yet I still haven’t played some of the games. The minigames appear to be randomly selected each tournament, but it seems like some games are much more likely to be picked than others. At least in my experience you will start to familiarize yourself with some of the games quite a bit as you will get them regularly. This does lead to some of the games becoming a little repetitive after a while.
Headbangers: Rhythm Royale is basically built around the premise that the game is really silly. This includes the minigames themselves and the overall style/theme. The game can genuinely be pretty funny at times due to its silliness. I could see the game really shining when you play it with friends. You are not meant to take the game too seriously. The best way to play it is to just sit back, relax and have some fun. While winning the tournaments is nice, the game is more about just having a good time.
Most of your focus should be placed on the minigames as they determine whether you will move on. You need to pay attention to other things as well though. At a random point in each game you will start hearing weird noises as the bonus round is activated. At this point you want to spin your pigeon’s head as fast as possible. If you spin it enough you can unlock a bonus game which earns you additional crumbs. These games are really quick and simple, but you can earn a lot of crumbs from them.
Even more important are the power ups. The power ups can be really important in the game. You should always be looking for them. They can either help you, or hurt your opponents. They can have a big impact on the outcome of a minigame, so you should try to grab them whenever possible. The power ups add an interesting twist to the game.
I have some mixed feelings about the power ups in the game. Basically the player that sees the box first and reacts the quickest will get it. I think the power ups are clever on the surface. Some just give you more crumbs, but others can have a pretty big impact on the current minigame. Some of them can really help you score higher in a minigame, and others can wreck havoc on the other players. It can be kind of funny to see some of them come into play as they start to mess with you.
Most of the time these are fun additions to the game. At times they can be kind of frustrating though. There were several times in the final game of a tournament that I ended up losing because of one of these power ups. The power up basically blocked my line of sight making it much harder to stay in the game. It is kind of annoying making it all of the way to the end of a tournament, and then losing because someone else reacted slightly quicker when one of the power ups came out. I personally would consider getting rid of the power ups for the final round.
While I have checked out the game quite a bit, I can’t really comment on the multiplayer aspect of the game at this point. Since I played the game before its release, I had to play with bots. I would say that the bots were quite hit or miss. They were quite good at some games, and downright terrible at others. Therefore I can’t really comment on what the game is like playing against other players. I also can’t comment on how quick it is to find a game or how many players the game has.
Like many online games, the game is built around playing games in order to acquire currency (crumbs). You use the crumbs you acquire in the store to purchase costumes, taunts, and other cosmetic items. At this time there is no paid currency. So you need to play the game in order to unlock additional costumes. Based on my experience with the game so far it usually took a game or two to purchase a cheap item while the most expensive items take around 10-15 games to afford. This might be due to making it far in most tournaments due to the bots being terrible at quite a few of the games. I like that there is no real-life currency in the game, but this does mean you might need to play the game quite a bit to get specific costumes.
At this point there is a lot of things that I really liked about Headbangers: Rhythm Royale. I have always wanted a battle royale game built around minigames. That is exactly what Headbangers: Rhythm Royale is at its core. Generally the minigames are quite fun. They are varied enough that it keeps things fresh. Some games are better than others, but they are generally quite fun to play. The game is quite silly and I think that works well for it.
There is still some things up in the air at this point though. While it already has quite a few minigames, I hope it adds more in the future. If it doesn’t end up adding more games, I could see the current games becoming kind of boring after a while. Ultimately the success of the game is going to depend on how many players it ends up attracting. If the game develops a good player base, I think it could be a keeper as long as they keep things fresh. If it never picks up an audience though, I don’t know how long it will last since the game is dependent on having enough players to enjoy a full tournament. For these two reasons I am not going to give the game a rating as I want to see where it ends up after a few months.
So far I am encouraged by what I have seen out of Headbangers: Rhythm Royale so far. If you don’t really care for battle royales or minigames, I don’t see it being the game for you. If you are like me and are looking for a fun minigame based battle royale game though, I think you will enjoy Headbangers: Rhythm Royale and should consider picking it up.
Headbangers: Rhythm Royale
Release Date: October 31, 2023 | Systems: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Developer: Glee-Cheese Studio | Publisher: Team17 | ESRB Rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Alcohol Reference, Cosmic Mischief
Genres: Indie, Minigames, Multiplayer, Rhythm
Official Website: https://www.headbangers.game/
- The various minigames are pretty varied and silly.
- Most of the minigames are quite fun.
- The game picker tends to pick the same games quite often which can get a little repetitive at times.
- The game’s success is going to depend on the player base that it develops.
Recommendation: For fans of battle royale games who want a game based around minigames.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Glee-Cheese Studio and Team17 for the review copy of Headbangers: Rhythm Royale used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.