Importance of Timing
Each enemy steps in from an outer circle and gets ready to attack while moving a quarter-circle around you. You have to prevent that attack with a counter-attack right before it happens by using the action button corresponding to the enemy's direction. If there is more than one enemy trying to hit you the same time, you have to press all of the corresponding buttons simultaneously.
It is important to hit the enemies precisely before they attack to get the perfect audio-visual feedback. With a perfect hit, the player character hits the enemies more smoothly and the sound of the hit feels exactly on the beat. Some TV sets have an audio/video delay that makes playing difficult. Try adjusting the Music lag parameter in the Sounds menu if you experience audio latency problems. You will be prompted to confirm your changes if you want to adjust the parameter in-game, because the track needs to be restarted in order to maintain its effects!
One counter-attack is enough to defeat an incoming enemy! You should avoid mashing the buttons or else you will exhaust your character for a short time, making him or her unable to act. Less is more!
Types of Enemies
There are three distinct types of enemies which are differentiated by their colors:
• The enemy in yellow is the basic, single target enemy
• Enemies in blue come rapidly one after the other and can be defeated with a fast combo chain
• Enemies in red come at you at once, and you have to use action buttons simultaneously
Enemies with Orbs
Enemies with icons floating above their heads are carrying orbs. There are many different orbs, but let us concentrate only on their acquisition for now.
You need to counter the attack of an enemy with an orb by tapping the appropriate button two times instead of just a single press. If the double tap is fast enough, you will collect the orb and enjoy its benefits.
Missing a double-tap causes the combo chain counter to reset on Expert and Master difficulties.
Press and Hold
Enemies connected by a bright, glowing stripe can be defeated by using the press, hold and release mechanics. You have to counter the attack of the first enemy as you would do with a single target enemy, but you must hold down that button until the next one reaches you. Releasing the button at that time will automatically make you counter his attack. There is no need to press the button again except to collect an orb.
You can only receive the score bonus for these type of enemies on a successful release. Using two single attacks instead of the press, hold and release mechanics on Expert and Master difficulties breaks your combo chain.
When you fail to counter the attack of an enemy, he hits you and you lose some health. Your actual health is shown on the center of the floor: it is the lower part of the yin yang. If it completely depletes, you suffer defeat and must retry to beat the song from the beginning.
It is possible to regain life by collecting health orbs, but be warned, these are not available on Expert and Master difficulties.
The other part of the yin yang under your character shows your chi. It is empty at the start of a song, but slowly fills up as you counter enemy attacks and collect chi orbs. As with health, You lose chi upon getting hit by enemies. When your chi reaches a certain level, an activation icon appears in the lower left corner of the screen. You can activate it by using the LT or LB.
When the chi meter fills completely, it starts to pulse. Any chi earned while the meter is full is lost!
Upon activation, your character will enter Chi mode, which consumes chi over time and lasts until the chi meter becomes fully depleted. While in Chi mode, your score multiplier is doubled.
There are many orbs in the game, and all of them have different effects. The orbs and their effects are as follows:
• Health: it restores health to your character
• Chi: it adds chi to your chi meter
• Score: it adds score to your total
• Multiplier: it increases the score multiplier for a short time
• Shockwave: it can be activated to eliminate all nearby enemies
• Shield: it can be activated to make you invulnerable for a short time
Upon acquiring a shockwave or a shield orb, an activation icon appears in the lower right corner of the screen. The activation slot contains only one orb, which is always the last you have picked up. To activate it, you have to press the RB or RT. For information on the orb collection, please see the enemies with orbs section.
Split Screen Powerups
Earn powerups in Split Screen mode by reaching high combo chain counts. These are as follows:
• Corrupted Orbs: The orbs of your rival become corrupted and cause damage upon unsuccessful collection
• Strong Enemies: The enemies of your rival become empowered and cause double damage on hit
• Exhaustion: Your rival becomes exhausted for a few seconds just like after a short burst of misses
• Precision: Only the perfect hits are counted into your rivals total score, great and good hits are denied
• Fifty: The enemies of your rival become less valuable, only fifty percent of their base score is counted
• Chain Breaker: Instantly resets the combo chain, multiplier and powerup chain of your rival
• Chi Leech: Steals the chi of your rival, but adds it to yours only if it is not activated
The total score of a given song is a measure of your performance. In order to score the most points possible, you need to defeat consecutive enemies without any misses to increase your combo chain count, defeat all the enemies in a section for the perfect section bonus, collect score and multiplier orbs, and activate your chi to double your score multiplier.
On Expert and Master difficulties, your combo chain count will reset if you fail to collect an orb or fail to execute the press, hold and release mechanics. On the other hand, the combo chain count will not reset in these cases on normal and hard difficulties, but the score bonuses will be lost.
The achievable score of a song goes up significantly if you dare to choose higher difficulties. An expert track is meant to represent the full challenge where you need to flow flawlessly with the song. Of course, the stakes can be raised to another level by choosing Master difficulty. On Master, the directions of the incoming enemies are fully randomized at each try. Go for a perfect playthrough on Master if you want to maximize your high score to occupy your deserved spot at the top of the scoreboards.
You get a 1 to 5 star rating depending on your performance if you complete a song. The color of the stars is based on the difficulty: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Your character and outfit unlocks are based on these stars. The special red star, the 6th one, can be earned if you are able to do an outstanding performance on Expert or Master difficulty. The coolest outfits can be unlocked with red stars so it is worth to practice.
The scoreboards contain the following statistics:
• All Time scores: the highest scores by songs
• Survival score: the highest survival score
• Total score: the sum of the highest score on each track and boss battle
• Dojo score: the sum of your score plus all of your friends' scores.
By meeting various requirements, you can unlock new playable characters, cool outfits and game modes. Check out the complete list of these requirements in the Unlockables menu.