Inside My Radio is yet another heavily stylised 2D Indie platformer with a little twist of rhythm added into the mix. The player is tasked with journeying through the insides of a dying Boombox in order to resurrect it back to life through tuning dials, jumping gaps and defeating the occasional boss. There's a basic slice of narrative now and again, but nothing of any consequence - the inhabitants are never given the opportunity to be fleshed out due to all the between-level dialogue exchanges being short and sweet. Each of the main worlds is set to its own musical genre backdrop (electro, disco and reggae/dub respectively) and features a different playable character; these avatars however are purely cosmetic as they all share the same move set with no unique traits or gameplay differences.
At first glance the all-important platforming controls seem fairly standard; left-to-right movement, jumping, dashing and wall-jumps are all within your repertoire. However, every action other than your basic movement needs to be hit to the beat of the background music for it to activate. This means from the off you'll need a rough sense of rhythm to jump across the smallest of gaps, although for the more musically inept platform fans there is a toggle to enable a visual prompt which helps with the timing aspect.
Providing you aren't playing on mute (something which the game reminds you not to do) it's pretty simple to pick up on the aural cues, but equally it's easy to panic and lose your rhythm resulting in death and a reset. Although Inside My Radio is clearly going to be easier if you can pick up on the rhythm, the fact that your left/right movement doesn't need to be in time to the music makes for a larger margin for error over the more strict rhythm games, such as a Guitar Hero type set-up or even HarmoKnight (for example) - it's arguably not on-the-rails enough, although this freedom does enable more choice in tackling the levels.
Occasionally there will be platforming sections which require combinations of moves which all need performing to the beat with some basic movement in-between; these moments can be both challenging and frustrating in equal measures. Thankfully the reset points are generous, so short of being stuck in a short sequence for a few minutes the difficulty isn't too high as a general rule.
The visuals are nicely done, (as is the overall presentation) but it's not as exciting as you'd think it would be being stuck inside a giant Boombox – there are nods to graphic equalizers, silhouettes of transistors and sections where you can literally change the tune yourself, but mostly it's all fairly standard futuristic backdrops which don't necessarily evoke the environment the developers may have liked. Nonetheless the visuals at least do a good job of showcasing a world that's falling apart and are forbidding and chaotic enough to create a sense of dread and decay to the proceedings.
Considering this is a game reliant on the music, the BGM is fairly generic, although it does sound great through a decent pair of headphones. The beat timings are obvious enough but there's nothing too memorable to the tunes themselves. Happily when everything does gel there's plenty of satisfaction to be had from stringing together a nicely timed combo in sync to the music (which is the entire principle of the game) but fairly often you'll make it through a section without really feeling like you're too tied in to the overall background tune.
Conceptually, Inside My Radio is interesting enough to begin with, but ultimately it feels like an averagely designed platformer made a touch more unique by the addition of the rhythm mechanic. The level designs include a few puzzles here and there, but if you're a platforming veteran you'll be able to waltz through the entire experience in a couple of hours. It's worth pointing out, however, that the final boss battle is a touch misplaced and seems rather out of kilter with the rest of the game – it's also quite a spike in difficulty too.
The biggest issue we have with Inside My Radio is the length; as alluded to in the last paragraph, there are only three 'worlds' and a couple of boss battles before it's all over. The addition of a time attack mode (which is tough but ultimately set across the same levels) offers a slight twist on the main game, but sadly there are no online leaderboards with which to compare against your friends. Overall there's not too much additional meat on the bones once you've completed the core experience.
In conclusion, Inside My Radio is a fairly novel, robust rhythmic platformer that's fun for a few hours; you'll soon be moving on to other things. Worth picking up for a Sunday afternoon blast if you fancy something a tiny bit different.