Cosmic DJ Review

A neat feature of Cosmic DJ is how all the animations dance in time with the music you compose
  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Gl33k
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital
  • Release Date: 30 October 2014
  • Time played: 2.5 hours

So while working through my backlog of games I came across one that apparently doesn't take very long to complete according to (yes, such a site exists and it's an invaluable tool for those of us with large "piles of shame" to work through). I purchased the game during a sale no doubt since I managed to get it for the rock bottom price of 74 US cents and overall, I'm reasonably satisfied with my purchase.

What I like:

Easiest way to get into composing electronic dance music

I've used really basic music trackers in the past such as eJay where it's just a matter of plonking different coloured blocks (that represent audio samples) onto different channels and I must say that Cosmic DJ is very similar in concept, except it's even easier, yet limited at the same time. Let me explain.

In eJay (and more complex music trackers) you can obviously have the track run for as long as possible; in Cosmic DJ your track is limited to 8 bars of music. Also, with normal music trackers you're able to chop and change your audio samples to however long you want them to be; in Cosmic DJ each note that you record is a crotchet. You can't have minims, quavers, etc. Finally, you only can ever play four notes with each instrument in Cosmic DJ (I'm now referring to the pitch, not the number of notes - the maximum number of notes is obviously 32 with 8 bars).

So admittedly, the game is quite limited in what you can compose but there's enough variety there to make some funky tunes and it's the easiest way you're ever going to get into composing electronic dance music. In fact, considering how simple it is, it's probably a great game to introduce to your kids (if you have any).

Lots of instruments to choose from

There are several types of instruments to choose from once you finally get around to the freeform mode called Quick Play although in the single-player campaign, you'll be limited to what you're given (you can occasionally substitute instruments but I'm not exactly sure what the trigger is for this to occur).

Ability to export mixes

One of the choicest features of this game is the ability for you to export mixes of the music you've created in MP3 format. Keep in mind that you can only export remixes of your music and it's automatically generated. The resultant remix is pretty short but you'd expect that when the original source material is only 32 bars long.

What I dislike:

Lack of control over which instruments to play

You know how I mentioned you have a lot of instruments to pick from when you decide to create music in Quick Play? Well the only downside is that there doesn't seem to be a way of picking specific instruments except for hitting a button that is the equivalent of the "I'm feeling lucky!" Google button or waiting to roll good stats when creating a D&D character.

Very short story mode

The single-player campaign is incredibly short. It took me under 2 hours to complete and consists of only six "missions". Thankfully, there's a freeform mode (as mentioned earlier) called Quick Play that allows you to just muck about and create as many mixes as you like.

There isn't really much challenge

If you go into this game expecting it to be a rhythm game like Guitar Hero, Rock Band or Before the Echo you're going to be disappointed as it's more of a music composition game which means the single-player campaign doesn't offer much of a challenge; as long as you bang a lot of notes using all the instruments (even if the track sounds terrible) you'll still manage to pass the missions.

Score – 7/10 (Good Fun)

The greatest strength of Cosmic DJ is also its weakness: it's probably the easiest way for someone to try their hand at composing electronic dance music. Even children and the musically-challenged will be able to create groovy mixes with Cosmic DJ. However, since it's so damn easy to make funky music in this game it also means it's very limited when compared to proper music composition software. The game will also pose no challenge to rhythm game veterans because it's not actually one of those kind of games.

If you're looking for a music game that allows you to create basic dance remixes for very little effort along with a short single-player campaign and a very affordable price, Cosmic DJ is the game for you. If you want a game that challenges you or one that is able to create longer and complex tracks, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Is the game worth $2.99 USD?: Yes. It's a good couple hours of fun and you even get some funky little dance tunes as a result of your efforts.

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[ LINK: Official Cosmic DJ Website ]