The world outside is messy, loud, and oppressive. Everything morphs into edges that you can easily get snagged on, but inside Lo-Fi Room, you can find momentary respite from the chaos of it all. Here, you can close your eyes, sink yourself into your soft beats, and smile. Here, you are safe.
In a nutshell, this, to me, is the whole appeal of Lo-Fi Room. Scheduled for release in late 2021, this relaxing game from Bearmask tasks you with finding hidden musical instruments littered across different scenes per level, then tests your musical prowess with timed beats. Each musical instrument you find unlocks a music track, in which you have to hit the right button to complete the beat.
Each level indicates how many instruments you need to find (and, in essence, how many tracks you need to successfully sync your own personal rhythm to). When you find all the musical instruments and complete the tracks, you can bask in the glory of your achievement and listen to the full music, with the scene coming alive to your newly formed beat ala-GIF style.
While rhythm games have been around for a really long time, Lo-Fi Room isn’t just another Dance Dance Revolution, Rock Band, or Guitar Hero. On the contrary, it doesn’t make you feel like you need to get all hopped up on adrenaline just so you can get your groove on. In Lo-Fi Room, it’s all about chilling out and staying mellow, because isn’t that what lo-fi is all about?
As for the controls, they’re pretty basic - all you really have to do is time your taps just right to hit the notes when prompted. There are four keys, and while some tracks are easy one-two beats, some can get pretty complicated, and you’ll need to bust out your hand-eye coordination skills to really get things going. Some have short durations that are easy to hit, but for some, you’ll need to hit every single note for a longer period of time - one wrong key and you’ll have to start all over again.
Still, if you feel like you don’t have the chops to hit the notes, don’t fret - the game can be pretty forgiving if you tap the keys at almost the right time. Even if you hit the keys relatively near where you’re supposed to, the game counts that as a successful tap, so you’re really not going to rage-quit from frustration. After all, lo-fi should calm you down to the deepest recesses of your soul - not send you off into a fiery rampage.
If you don’t feel like timing your keys to someone else’s rhythm, you can make your own music in the game’s “Make Beats” mode. Here, you can take your pick from all the different musical instruments available and create your own lo-fi beats. Each instrument will also have four keys, so play along as you please. I’m not really too musically inclined, but at the end of the day, I personally found this feature even more relaxing than the Story Mode, if that’s even possible.
Currently, there will be 15-20 levels with increasing difficulty as planned when the final version of the game comes out. It’s obviously not meant to be played in a single go - I personally think you can enjoy the game best when you sit down and play through just a level or two with every session. It’s the perfect way to de-stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed with the world around you, especially with the aesthetically pleasing art that’s as low-key and calming as the beats that surround it.
Overall, Lo-Fi Room lets you find your chill by perfectly encapsulating what lo-fi is. If you want to give it a try and see if it’s your cup of tea, you can check out the first three levels for free over at the official website. Then, cuddle up in a cozy blanket with a furry fuzzball by your side and you’re good to go.
Here’s hoping the game hits its target release date - because if there’s even any teeny tiny way the world can unwind right now, we’ll definitely take it.