Oh boy, here we go. The Artful Escape, regardless of how many layers you peel back, doesn't really have any components that function in tandem with any other IPs on the market. That isn't to say there aren't any glamor rock-loving platformers at all, though. It's just that, well, it's an incredibly niche topic, which is precisely why Beethoven & Dinosaur sit comfortably on a pedestal fashioned out of innovations neither you nor I could possibly fathom. And, you know, kudos to them for that.
Anyway, if you've recently brushed up on the psychedelic platformer and are in need of a new portal to pursue, then be sure to read on. Granted, the following entries aren't necessarily textbook replicas of Francis Vendetti's absurdly unique voyage through the neon realms — but they're rather close. So, if you're seeking a new voyage to embark on, then be sure to check out these weird and wonderful expeditions on console and PC.
5. Brutal Legend
The fact that Jack Black stars in this flawlessly inventive metal-infused open world action-adventure sort of says it all, really. And although it's coated in more blood and bone than beacons of RGB and LED, it certainly hammers the music video game aesthetic remarkably well. The only blatant difference, other than it being an open world hack and slash game and not a psychedelic platformer, really, is that it features a heavy metal score composed by some of the industry's most prestigious artists.
Brutal Legend puts you in the shoes of Eddie Riggs, an axe-wielding roadie who's hurled back in time, to a realm built on rock-and-roll and epic metal-inspired warfare. With the world on the precipice of yielding to an evil tyrant, you must build an army of headbangers and musicians and take the fight to the center stage. Is it bloody? Yes. Is it equally as obsessed with music as The Artful Escape? A hundred times, yes.
4. We Are OFK
We Are OFK is an interactive story game that lets you play out the day-to-day lives of a musically conflicted band. As such, you are invited to not only compose new records and music videos, but immerse in each member's issues and backstories. And while there isn't a huge amount of gameplay, it does make do with the mechanics it has on hand. Think A Memoir Blue, complete with the point-and-click controls to boot, and add a virtuoso or two to the mix, and you'll have a vague idea of what we're talking about.
To break it down ever so slightly, We Are OFK follows the story of four desperate individuals and their struggles to express their creativity in the City of Angels. Gifted, but each swamped by the ups and downs of city living, the four come together to form a band, and with that, a spiritual connection that runs a lot thicker than both blood and water combined. Cue the rollercoaster of emotions, OFK.
Wandersong, much like The Artful Escape, is a music-driven platformer that depicts the coming-of-age tale of a young musician. Rather than transport you to a neon metropolis built on power metal, however, Wandersong instead sends you across the world as a bard—a musically gifted artist whose notes cause the surroundings to not only react, but transform into weird and whimsical creations. It's your role, as a walking instrument of sorts, to traverse the globe and spread your love of music in some of the most expressive ways conceivable.
It goes without saying that Wandersong pretty much plays into all the same choruses as The Artful Escape — particularly in the platforming department. It's also rife with hearty morals and eye-opening theatrics, which again, trickle on a similar wavelength to Francis Vendetti's love letter to power metal and 80s-inspired aesthetics. The Artful Escape it most certainly is not. But then, it doesn't have to be, either.
2. Hi-Fi Rush
Hi-Fi Rush is a combat-studded action rhythm game, and one that just so happens to fuse more comic book-esque nodes into the mix than the vast majority of adaptations of Marvel movies. And it's great, truly, because while you're primary goal is to POW, WHACK, and WHAM your way through wave after wave of enemies, you're also given the freedom to experiment with a pretty fleshed out palette of maneuvers and beat-based combos. Sort of like The Artful Escape, only a lot slicker, and perhaps more in touch with its humourous side.
In a nutshell, Hi-Fi Rush is the culmination of two genres banding together for the sake of building something truly unique. And while it's a semi-open world hack and slash game at heart, it's also a rather nifty musical to boot. So, if you enjoy cartoonized worlds with beats, breakdowns, and bombastic solos, then you're sure to find the romp through Hi-Fi Rush to your liking.
1. Sayonara Wild Hearts
Sayonara Wild Hearts may not contain the same style of music progression as The Artful Escape, but it certainly features a number of similarities as far as gameplay goes. Like Beethoven & Dinosaur's IP, Sayonara Wild Hearts uses the power of music to construct a riveting rock and pop opera that's both story-driven and bursting at the seams with florescent lights and candy-popping aesthetics. Add the fact that it also delivers a pretty solid combat system, and you've essentially got yourself a worthy substitute on an ultraviolet platter.
In Sayonara Wild Hearts, you take on the role of a young woman whose heart has been violently broken. Left shattered and isolated in a world robbed of all its harmony, you will embark on a quest across a dreamy landscape in search of hearts. With no two modes of transport ever being the same, however, there's just no telling how you'll reach the next track. Either way, though, you can expect to bust some heads at lightning speeds — even on a skateboard.
So, what's your take? Will you be picking up any of the above five games this month? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.