Rhythm Quest Devlog 64 — Bonus Levels

4 min readMar 8, 2024


Sometimes it can be good to bounce around and work on some different things here and there. This time I worked on some additional levels! I’m still feeling hesitant to finish out the levels in world 6, so I decided to work on some bonus levels instead. This is relatively low-pressure for me since the more bonus levels I have, the better, and they don’t really have to fit a particular level of difficulty or anything. I also wanted to explore using the new yellow ghost enemies a bit to get to know how to chart with them.

Violet Hyperwave

The first level I made is called “Violet Hyperwave”. It’s a synthwave-styled track that uses all of the mechanics in the game except for the triplet speed-zones. Here’s the video of the full track:

For now I’m not making new backgrounds for these bonus tracks (maybe later…?), which helps make the process a little easier; I’m able to just churn these levels out in 1 or 2 days, which feels nice.

Music-wise, there’s a synthwave preset bank that I pull from a lot that slots right in here, and there’s plenty of analog/vintage emulation to warm up the sound a bit. I really like the FM arp sound that comes in halfway through!

For the chart I didn’t want to do anything crazy, so most of the patterns you’ll see are pretty familiar, but as I mentioned earlier, I did try to make use of the new yellow ghost enemies. By themselves, they’re actually not very difficult! It’s a new rhythm to deal with, but hitting a yellow ghost enemy is slower than hitting double-hit enemies, so it’s not actually that hard. This makes me wonder whether I should just introduce the yellow ghost enemies at the very beginning of world 6, and then shift over level 6–1 to be level 6–2 instead (?).

Combining yellow ghosts with other rhythms is in theory, possible, but I want to be careful with them, as 16th-note rhythms are quite a bit faster than anything else currently in the game. Maybe they’ll be relegated to very specific recognizable patterns…? Something else I’ve tended to avoid up until now is having a ghost enemy (either purple or yellow) on the same beat as a jump, but I added a few instances of that in this level. Unlike with the basic red/green enemies, there’s no special visual distinction for these combo presses, which I’m not the biggest fan of, so I might have to think about whether I can come up with a nice way of making that a bit easier to read.

In terms of estimated difficulty, this level clocks in at a 59 (Hard), which is a bit harder than levels 5–3 and 5–4, but not as hard as levels 5–5 and 6–1.

A Single Leaf Flutters in the Wind

The second level is called “A Single Leaf Flutters in the Wind”. It a fast song featuring East Asian instrumentation such as taiko drums and guzheng, and uses a pentatonic scale, just like the songs in world 4. Here’s the track video:

So one thing with the bonus levels is that a bunch of them are going to involve mechanics that the player hasn’t necessarily been introduced to in the main levels yet. I’m not yet sure how I’m going to handle this exactly (initially I was going to gate access to bonus levels, but I might actually just show a warning instead of hard-locking them), but I’m going to try and include some levels that only feature the simpler mechanics, so you have something that you can play if you go to the shop before finishing most of the game. As a plus, these can also sort of serve as “challenge missions” (a la Celeste B-Sides) for players who are finding the main progression a little too easy.

To that end, I made this song that only uses the mechanics from worlds 1 and 2 (no ghost enemies, no water paths, etc), but is really fast-paced to present a challenge. It’s at 135 beats per minute, so definitely on the faster side considering that it uses a ton of 8th-note rhythms. As you can see from the first few checkpoint sections, I wanted to really pull the gloves off on syncopated 8th-note rhythms here, encouraging you to read the airjump patterns in order to parse out the timings.

The song itself was really fun to write! Working on new levels like this always reminds me of why I enjoy working on the game, so this has been a nice break from figuring out the complicated stuff around custom levels. I appreciate that the songs are relatively short (1.5–2 minutes), so writing them doesn’t really feel like some sort of gargantuan effort; I can pull it off very quickly.

For estimated difficulty, this level is a 73 (Expert) due to the note density, so it’s a bit between levels 5–5 and 6–1.

That’s going to do it for this update. Hopefully people are happy that finally have some new levels to show off again :)

Wishlist Rhythm Quest on Steam today at https://store.steampowered.com/app/1635640/Rhythm_Quest/