Two new Bemani titles, Nostalgia and Otoiroha, were announced by Konami Digital Entertainment a few weeks before Japan Amusement Expo (JAEPO), the arcade games’ equivalent of the Tokyo Game Show. During JAEPO itself, these two new games were showcased to the public and visitors could try them out. They will be the 12th and 13th active Bemani rhythm games.
During the Bemani Live Broadcast, the sound directors of the two games introduced the two games. Dj Totto, a Bemani artist who is very skilled at Bemani games, played the two games in front of everybody to show how the games work.
Otoiroha is a game with a eye-catching machine design. It has four buttons and two sliders. The buttons are nothing new in rhythm games, but the sliders are features not seen before in other rhythm games. On the left and right hand side of the screen, there will be line notes that require the sliders to be adjusted to the same position. There will also be notes that require the sliders to be thrown upwards.
The catchphrase of Otoiroha is ‘otoiro no wa ga tsunagaru – shin ongaku game ga maioriru’, which means ‘connecting the rings of sound – a new rhythm game descends’. I am not sure what the ‘rings’ refer to, but it probably has something to do with the sliders.
Overall, Otoiroha felt very much like the recent Bemani games, Sound Voltex and Museca. They probably recycled plenty of code and design from these two games in the development of Otoiroha.
The sound director of Otoiroha is Koezuka Yoshihiko who is also currently the sound director of Gitadora. It is unknown whether he will continue to be the sound director of Gitadora or simultaneously direct both projects. His most frequently used aliases are Oj and Trick Trap, and he is a really good bassist. It is common for Bemani games’ sound directors to compose heavily for the games they are in-charged of, so expect Otoiroha to have plenty of his songs with sexy basslines.
Below is the gameplay live demonstration from JAEPO 2016. (If video isn't playing from the right start time, please manually scroll to 16 min 10 seconds and playback)
Nostalgia is a piano rhythm game and a spiritual successor of the failed Keyboardmania. Keyboardmania supposedly didn’t work because it was too difficult. Back in 2000/2001, there were just a few rhythm games around and the existing ones were not too difficult, so Keyboardmania, which was pretty much an actual piano itself, was too hard for players. Today, rhythm games have gotten incredibly difficult, yet seasoned rhythm game players could still somehow handle anything thrown at them. This was perhaps why Konami decided to bring back a challenging piano game.
Unlike Keyboardmania, Nostalgia’s black keys are one huge chunk instead of separate keys like in an actual keyboard, so pressing these keys do not require much precision. Hitting the general area of the notes will be enough. This makes it much easier than playing an actual piano, and therefore it can be said to be a simplified version of Keyboardmania. Regardless, from what I saw of the hardest song in the demo version from JAEPO, Nostalgia has the potential to become a real monster rhythm game.
The catchphrase of Nostalgia is ‘toki wo kanaderu piano game’, which means ‘a piano game that plays time’. Along with all the clock gears in the game’s interface, it is clear that ‘time’ is the main theme.
The music select screen is very different from all other Bemani rhythm games. It looks real classy.
The sound director of Nostalgia is Wac, currently the sound director of Pop’n Music along with PoN. He is famous for ‘ongaku’ and ‘piano kyousoukyoku daiichiban “sasoribi”’. Both are piano pieces well-known within the Japanese rhythm game community.
A piano instrumental version of ‘Blind Justice ~Torn souls, Hurt Faiths~’ was played in the demonstration. This song was composed by Zektbach, an alias of Funaki Tomosuke, the producer of Hinabitter. In the demo machine, there were only eight songs. Four classicals, and four Konami originals. It is likely that Nostalgia will only have Konami original songs with strong piano/keyboard elements, seeing how a piano instrumental version of ‘Blind Justice ~Torn souls, Hurt Faiths’, which is not previously in any other Bemani games, is made just for Nostalgia.
It is safe to say that Konami wants to target classical music lovers with this game. From the length of the queue and the vibes I felt from the people playing and watching Nostalgia at JAEPO, I think this game will be a success.
Below is the gameplay live demonstration from JAEPO 2016. (If video isn't playing from the right start time, please manually scroll to 27 min 58 seconds and playback)
Currently the launch dates of these two games have not been announced yet, but expect the dates of the first location tests to be announced soon. Also, both games will likely be available in USA through Round1 shortly after their Asia release!