Osu! A Gem in a Dying Genre


One of the most popular genres of games have to be first person shooters such as Call of Duty or Halo, but some genres are left in the dust, and that is rhythm games. Most memorable rhythm games people can list are Guitar Hero or Rock Band, since they are very largely advertised. The sad truth is that the genre of rhythm games has been dying, but a certain game has been rising with popularity: Osu!.  

“Osu!” is a unique rhythm game created by a solo Australian game developer that is mainly based off of Japanese songs. What makes this game unique is its new gameplay no one has seen before. The way the game works is a song plays, (typically 2-3 minute songs), and you click buttons on your keyboard to the “beatmap” that is playing.

In each beatmap, a song will play and different beats hit elements (hit circles, sliders and spinners) that will appear on the play field. In order to complete the song, you have to click each of these circles with an adequate accuracy level and combo. The longer you go on without missing a note or not clicking on time, you will increasingly get more points.

Along with this comes three different other game modes, Taiko, Catch the Beat, and Osu Mania. Even though there are these other gamemodes, standard Osu continues to overshadow these other modes by a longshot, putting them in the dark. Osu! is infamous for the craze of the songs sometimes being very fast, almost more than 300 BPM (beats per minute) for which have became very popular on Youtube.

The gameplay itself is very different from any other rhythm games, making the game pumped with hours and hours of play time. Along with this new type of rhythm game, simply just playing the beat of a song makes it worth the time, as you want to keep listening to the song. Sadly, Osu! has a very tough learning curve, making it extremely hard for beginners to get the hang of the unique game. Despite the gameplay being fairly repetitive, it has it’s qualities of being very fun and rewarding.

Back to the “beatmaps,” the genre of music that you play to is a large variety but on average comes to Japanese songs, and electronic, although it is not limited to just these. After playing Osu! for a little over two years, I can proudly say that the game has never became bland or boring. At first glance clicking circles to the rhythm of a song seems like it would be repetitive but it’s absolutely not. When you are playing Osu after a while it feels like playing an instrument rather than playing a game. This is because when you somewhat crafting the pulsing rhythm of the beat, your fingers become the instrument creating this melodic song.

As for the negatives to this game, it can be that playing can require lots of energy. When you play Osu for a long time (anytime over an hour), your fingers become frail and sluggish. If you have weak fingers while playing you may not be able to keep up with the beat, therefore Osu would be a worthless game to play.

In order to play, you need to have lots of energy or make sure that you are able to play fairly quick. A problem that many Osu players get when playing for way too long is getting diagnosed with Repetitive strain injury or RSI.

RSI is an injury that causes damage and pain caused by repetitive movement and overuse or in this case, clicking circles for a long period of time. Since the way you play Osu! doesn’t change and you keep clicking with the same two fingers, you can be of risk for this and any type of wrist injury if playing for long sessions. With this in mind, it is important when you play this game to take breaks and do exercises in between sittings to ensure a safe experience.

Apart from the large learning curve that Osu! has, and the “dangers” that are in mind, the game is very engaging that has long-lasting play time. The community for this game is very small but growing rapidly with its increase of popularity with the help of gaming live streaming platform “Twitch.” The most extraordinary thing about Osu! is that it is created by a single developer, Dean Herbert, who made it all the way back starting in September 2007.

Games developed by a single person are not an uncommon trend with the rise of indie games coming on the market, like the huge success of “Undertale,” by another single developer. Because of the popularity of Osu! rising to the top of rhythm games and constant support by it’s community, Osu! will be known, and continue to be known as a constant stream of fun and competition in its ever growing development.