Goodbye Volcano High hands-on preview

Goodbye Volcano High hands-on preview

A narrative rhythm game focusing on the inner workings of high school dinosaur band leaves Sam wanting more

Goodbye Volcano High, from developers KO_OP, takes what we know about high school bands and turns it into a drama that we play out. Also, it’s a rhythm game. Oh, also it’s with dinosaurs.

Well, the game doesn’t explicitly say everyone is a dinosaur, but read the room.

GVH focuses on the inner dramas of a high school band whose members are both growing together and growing apart. It’s senior year at the high school, and the colorful cast of characters are forging and piloting through relationships and hitting a crescendo; the show floor demo has us jumping in as the band is “experimenting with a new sound,” and maybe that’s not the direction that the whole band wants to go.

The rhythm play is as varied as the narrative premise, too, and isn’t necessarily stuck to the traditional highways. During our session we focused on moving our eyes around the screen to get the right button presses, which moves the game further away from just pushing buttons in sequence. In fact, the entire experience incorporates more than just the music on the screen that we’re trying to time to.

The demo gave us some chances to choose dialog in the story and interactions, but there wasn’t necessarily enough time to see if our choices had any immediate result. They didn’t appear to be super pivotal, but then the questions weren’t loaded enough to affect people’s reactions to what we’re saying. The only reaction we DID see was a sort of false choice to flash back in one sequence.

Anyhoo, characters are all very likeable, and the art style looks great, with a sort of punk aesthetic. The demo even had a sequence in which we designed our band’s logo, starting with sketching in a notebook and eventually progressing to a sort of Photoshop. Did I mention that our band’s name is Worm Drama? Because it is, and that’s just great.

A short demo on a show floor doesn’t give the full effect of what the game’s narrative will actually be, so I can’t help but look forward to seeing how some of our choices and creative aspects appear throughout the game when Goodbye Volcano High actually releases later this year on PlayStation platforms and PC.

Images and video courtesy KO_OP.