The base of my sub-woofer starts to throb: "Preparing nano-blaster for human trial" says a robotic female voice indicating that we are indeed in the future now.
But there's some history to Harmonix's new rhythm game. Amplitude is actually a slick reboot of 2003's game of the same name, itself a sequel to 2001's Frequency.
Their past with Rock Band is written clearly across the lanes that make up the play area. While the fiction says you're venturing through a comatose patients brain, you're really just surfing a series of fretboards that will look immediately familiar to anyone that's ever laid their hands on one of the guitar-shaped plasticky controllers at a house party.
In fact, it seems Harmonix have spent so long making Rock Band games, sublime as they are, that Amplitude feels like nearly a clone - you bash L1, R1 and R2 as you speed past little blips on the tracks. Hitting all of the blips makes the tracks play noise. It's kind of hard to get a sense for how this actually plays in motion so I recorded a run which you can see below.
As you can see, playing it is more involving than their other big series - there are various power-ups unlocked through play: automatically complete a section, slow time down or even just mix things up and zap around the place for a bit.
One of the best parts about it is the aesthetic. While I have a few issues with the music selection that I'll go into later, the fiction that you're currently trying to wake a comatose patient and doing this with a series of EDM, chillout fits oddly well. The slow pulse of the backgrounds as you traverse these tracks to save a patient's life is a great fit.
But what if you don't like EDM or chillout? Then there's nothing really for you here.
The most jarring part is that it's mostly original music. The original Amplitude let you play with the music of Pink, Blink 182, Slipknot, Garbage, David Bowie… there were always plenty of great tracks to play through. The new Amplitude is mostly tracks made in house at Harmonix and as a result it can be somewhat dull. It's a shame because there are some gems, particularly "All The Time" by Minecraft composer C418.