Game of the week: Cytus II

The last time I remember enjoying rhythm game, I had hair down to my shoulders, acne like you wouldn't believe, and a parent-mandated bedtime. I use to play Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 on my PlayStation 2 for hours and hours during my adolescent years until my legs were sore.

Since then, I have tried a variety of different music rhythm games on console and mobile and I have never found much enjoyment out of a single one.

Surprisingly, Cytus II performed well above my expectations — which were admittedly pretty low — and I found myself sinking a number of hours into the fast-paced, finger-tapping bonanza that the game offered.

Finger tapping madness

As you can probably imagine, the gameplay for Cytus II isn't groundbreaking in any way, as most music rhythm games are quite similar; however, the variety in options in the types of actions you need to perform is refreshing. Sometimes simple tap works, other times you need to press and hold the screen, and on the harder difficulties, you even need to swipe left or right if you want to perfectly execute each note.

Another neat mechanic that I hadn't seen in other games in the genre is what the game calls the "Active Judgement Line". If you look at the GIF above, you see the notes (or nodes) pop-up on the screen and gradually grow bigger, and the Active Judgement Line moves up and down, acting as a guide for the tempo of the music. When that line crosses the middle of each node when it's at its biggest size, that's when you know to tap the screen.

This adds a layer to the gameplay I wasn't expecting and when you get to the higher difficulties it really makes you think about which node to press at which time to get the most points.

Why I enjoyed it

I had every reason to dislike Cytus II from the very beginning. It's a genre of game I don't particularly enjoy, the music in the game is not what I typically listen too, and I usually prefer games with robust stories, so why the heck do I like this game? It comes down to polish.

Cytus II is developed by Rayark International Limited and is one of the best in the business when it comes to music rhythm games and it shows. The gameplay is very smooth, and for the genre, has some innovation attached to it.

Even though the story was very minimal and not particularly gripping, the artwork is well-done and the entire game feels complete.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, my opinion comes through the eyes of a newbie, but I still found Cytus II to be enjoyable and the $1.99 price tag wasn't asking too much. If you're a fan of the music rhythm genre and you're looking for a new game you won't be disappointed. Alternatively, if you like a solid, smooth, and casual gameplay experience Cytus II will likely fill your quota

Other games this week

Rusty Lake Paradise: A point-and-click adventure game with quality art design and a historical fiction narrative. You'll need to solve puzzles and find a way to survive the ten biblical plagues of ancient Egypt. $2.99 in the App Store.

Anithero — Digital Board Game: Become the ultimate thief by using your stealth, cunning, and the odd murder or two. $3.99 in the App Store.

Bridge Constructor Portal: It's time to start thinking with portals and bridges! This hilarious combination of Portals gameplay mixed with bridge constructor allows you to have endless creativity and will kepp you entertained for hours. $4.99 in the App Store.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.