Playstation and Xbox DJ mixing game Fuser is an upbeat musical burst of fun

Guitar music isn’t as popular as it used to be in the charts.

Long gone are the Queens, AC/DCs and ZZ Tops of the world and our nation’s favourite tunes now seem to be centred around dance tracks.

So when the brains behind the hit game Guitar Hero were looking at their next big Playstation and Xbox title, it’s seems clear a change of pace and style was needed.

The result is Fuser, a DJ focused video game where you take control of the decks in front of a festival crowd and try to impress them with your mixing skills.

And the resulting video game is an addictive mix of fun and skill that’ll no doubt soon see a new army of wannabes excel at mixing Dua Lipa with Sister Sledge.

If you’ve played a Harmonix game before the basics are pretty familiar.

Where in Guitar Hero you had to hit the different colour keys in rhythm, here you have to effectively do the same, mixing four colour-coded elements of a song in time with one another.

But it’s much more layered than that once you get going.

Fuser gives you four turntable decks to fill.

The first is, for simplicity’s sake, the drums.

The second is bass, third is guitars/strings/synths – basically all the middle ‘hook’ elements of a song – and the final deck is vocals.

You can drop in and drop out elements of well-know songs from a pretty decent sized library of hits that you’re tasked with reducing down to a max of around 12 in your ‘crate’ at any given performance.

Like with Guitar Hero, on screen your personalised character struts and mixes tunes on a hugely impressive festival stage in front of a slightly ropey looking virtual audience.

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You can even personalise your light show for the fans, adding in different colours and types of pyrotechnics to flex your own unique visuals.

As you slowly add in drums, bass, riffs and singing, at any time you can drop a disc to bring down the beat, and build back up again with creative mixes of songs you’d never believe should go together.

Pop track Dance Monkey and rock tune Killing In The Name Of go quite well together, for example.

Harmonix have done well to bring a complicated skill down to a simple but addictively fun video game level while still allowing you enough flexibility to show off your abilities and create genuinely decent mash-up of hit songs.

The gamey side of all this is to finish a ‘set’ with five stars from your crowd.

And as the campaign progresses you’ll be tasked with increasing amounts of work to do to boost your appeal, taking requests for specific songs at certain times from example from fans and dropping in new tracks on the ‘downbeat’ in prefect timing.

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It’s well paced, allowing you time to adjust to the mechanics and can get quite complicated. So the guides you get from Fuser’s in-game promoters are definitely worth sticking to early doors.

And when you do pull off a great, unexpected mash-up of four songs it does lift you as well as your computer crowd’s approval bar.

As well as Campaign, there’s a Freestyle mode for trying out different skills and honing your stage set.

You’ll also be able to battle against other DJs in multiplayer online, trying to outdo one another with better mixes that’ll get the audience buzzing.

You’ll also earn in-game currency that you can use to unlock additional songs and character customization options to show off in other modes.

There’s fancy clothes to try on, hats, shades, even dance moves to earn to boost that stage presence.

Once you’ve got the hang of it all you can capture a mix and share it with the Fuser community, so I’d expect a raft of excellent players showing off amazing DJ mixes pre Christmas.

The game plays well, is hugely fun and about as close as we’re all going to get to going to a festival this side of 2021.

It’s an upbeat video game, no death and destruction, and is all skewed towards collaboration and the sharing of creative mixes, which should be applauded.

The combinations are almost endless thanks to the plentiful 100+ song library to unlock.

It’s not perfect, I can see the average gamer getting bored of the repetitive nature of the game.

I suspect only those who are really into sticking with practising the skills available, like with a real instrument, will carry on playing this long after the novelty wears off.

But if you’re looking for something fun, colourful and different that you can share with pals at home during the dark lockdown weeks ahead, give it a go.

VERDICT 4/5

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