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Out of all the things we’ve lost this year, being able to sit in a crowded park while a band performs live and join in on the chorus, may be one of the small luxuries that many people can’t wait to feel again when life returns to normal. Music is a core part of our identity, it shapes and inspires us, and there’s an energy to it that is tangible when you’re in the middle of a like-minded swarm of people.

Airing your armpits to the beat of a rhythm, risking lifelong tinnitus, and dreading having to visit one of the portable toilets after eating overpriced festival food…rocking the Rabies and all that. Right now music festivals in the real world are a no-go, but in your living room? Fuser has you covered.

Fresh from the development labs of Harmonix, who know a thing or two about interactive rhythm, Fuser shines the spotlight not only on your ability to mix a record but on your ability to fuse the best parts of iconic music tracks from across the ages into pulse-pounding jams. Across a ten-hour campaign, you’re not just learning the intricacies of being a disc jockey in front of a crowd of thousands, you’re dropping sick beats that require actual technical know-how.

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Mixing singles in queues, finding the perfect cadence in the BPM, and making certain that you don’t fumble your pick-ups. Mixing is done in the moment, and with a hundred tracks to choose from, the options seem endless. Each song has four core components: Red for vocals, green for bass/synth, yellow for lead instruments, and blue for drums.

By highlighting a component from each track and combining them, the fusion is unholy yet magical. Who would have thought that a mix of Rage Against the Machine’s vocals could mesh so well with Carly Rae Jepsen and Smash Mouth? How Fuser manages to consistently blend your choices together into legitimately catchy tracks is beyond me, but when you find that perfect quartet of music, shove it into a turntable blender, and blast it out to your adoring fans, the end result is an audio feast for the ages.

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And that’s the core groove right there. You’re always on the hunt for that killer track, that compilation that sounds mad on paper, but has you raising your arms in the air when the beat lands. Short of a dodgy dude in the corner selling expired Ecstasy tablets, Fuser nails that festival sensation with its thrilling tempo.

How well your concert actually goes though comes down to how many points you can grab during mini-games that’ll erupt during your set. There’s no shortage of tasks that Fuser will throw at you, testing your newfound skills and slyly helping you polish them with these objectives, although some of these requests do hinder the overall flow of your creative output.

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Looping mechanics also felt like they could benefit from some more time in the design kiln, as this temperamental design required my sole attention whenever I attempted it. Considering that you have other functions and tasks on hand to focus on, that resulted in an unnecessary challenge creeping its way into Fuser and resulted in some god-awful cacophonies escaping from my deck.

If you want to take your creations online, Fuser’s social and multiplayer hubs are also pretty inviting. You can enter contests where votes will determine who has beats so sick that they should be sent to a hospital, while PVP points battles will see who has the best skills in harmonious battles that bring big deck energy to the stage.

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Me though? I enjoyed the endless mode, where I could work my magic and experiment more with the music on offer. It was my trial and error lab, a sandbox where I could master my music and revisit interesting ideas that I never truly had time to perfect in the game’s campaign. Here I was at peace, building up to a glorious audio high and then dropping the bass in a moment of musical euphoria. Here, I was a thousand summers of top 40 hits, free-flowing from track to track and delivering good vibes to the people before me.

Moments like that have to be earned in Fuser, but when they do explode onto the scene, they’re cherished memories of style, colour, and audio bliss.

Last Updated: November 20, 2020

Fuser
After rocking the world with guitars and other assorted musical stylings, Fuser feels and sounds like the logical next step for Harmonix. It’s colourful, brimming with positive energy, and the musical mash-ups that you can potentially create aren’t just surprising, they deserve to be heard around the world. If a steady flow of DLC keeps Fuser alive, I’ll happily hop back into the DJ booth to create a few more surprise hits.
8.0
Fuser was reviewed on Xbox Series X
81 / 100

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