Old School gamers unite. Chiptune Challenge Pack 1 gives you three additional songs for The Metronomicon, with that retro 8-bit / chiptune feel. If you haven't heard of Chiptune, it's a genre of music made to sound like the retro 8-bit videogames, so named for the fact that the music was on the microchips of the game cartridge and played via a 8-bit sound chip.
The Chiptune Challenge Pack 1 features three songs, each playable as a Challenge in the Arena Mode and each with its accompanying magic item, should you manage to beat the Challenge.
One thing to notice, however, is that these three songs have different difficulties and, as such, are filtered into the different levels of the Arena. If you've gotten to the final level of the game, you're good, but if you haven't progressed much in the Story Mode, you may not have access to these Challenges. The first one is available in the Emerald League, which is very early on, but the last one to be available requires access to the Opal League, which is the highest Challenge level in the Arena, so until you have access to all of the Arena tiers, you won't have access to the Challenges for all three songs.
You can still access these songs, even if you haven't gotten to the last world in the Story Mode and unlocked Opal League. You can play them in the Freeplay Mode without any progress prereqs and you can also listen to them in the DJ Room. OH - that is once you've paid for them. That's right - the privilege of listening to these songs isn't granted merely by purchasing the DLC - you'll also have to spend crystals to unlock the songs in the DJ Room. Yes, I know that's how the DJ Room is set up in the game. Still, I feel like if I go out of my way to purchase DLC and there's a chance that the Challenges for some of the songs might not be available to me, I should at least be able to listen to them in the DJ Room. This would aggravate me much more if I couldn't just go play them straight off in the Freeplay Mode.
Pretty in Pixels, by Marissa Hapeman:
Tier: Emerald League
Enemy Difficulty: 3
Easy 3.0 / Medium 5.5 / Hard 7.5
Reward: Itchy Mustached Glasses
In this challenge, the enemies are healing themselves continuously. Luckily, all you have to do is manage to survive for the duration of the song. Do, and you'll get a magic item: Itchy Mustached Glasses. On the upside, you'll be permanently Focused and Inspired. On the downside, you continuously Bleed. (If you use this, you might want to Cure a bit more often.)
Do the Double Deux, by Craig Barnes:
Challenge: There's Loot Aboot
Tier: Ruby League
Enemy Difficulty: 3
Easy 3.5 / Medium 6.0 / Hard 8.0
Reward: Grabby Plucky Thing
This one's not available until you've unlocked the Ruby League in the Challenge Arena and this requires that you have progressed through a few levels in the Story Mode. While that can be annoying (especially if you purchase the DLC and haven't unlocked the Ruby League, yet), it also means you'll have access to Pierce (the thief) before you have access to this challenge. This will come in handy, as you'll need him to be able to acquire any loot - and the challenge here is to acquire at least 23 loot during the song. Nothing else matters. Well, you'll need to stay alive, so you might want to Cure from time to time. And, I guess, buffs for your party and/or debuffs against the enemy might keep the enemies at bay, allowing you to actually work on grabbing the loot. But, if you don't acquire 23 loot before the song ends... you lose.
Pierce has two abilities that acquire loot: Mug, which will do some damage and swipe some element crystals from the enemy and Pick Pocket. Pick Pocket is a Secondary Ability, so you don't fire that one off manually; you have to achieve a streak of notes long enough for this ability to auto-trigger. By default, this requires a 50-note streak. There are some magic items and effects that can reduce the number of notes required to kick off a Secondary Ability, as well as Gruver's ability to share streak notes with the rest of the party, getting them to their Secondary Abilities faster. Using these in conjunction with Pierce's Pick Pocket ability will help you pull it off more often, but you'll need to break the streak and start over after you hit your target number so that he uses it again.
Win this Challenge and you'll be rewarded with the Grabby Plucky Thing, which will give Pierce's Pick Pocket ability a small chance to steal equipment, instead of just crystals. Bring on the loot!
Flow Unlimited, by DDRKirby(ISQ):
Challenge: Costume Party
Tier: Opal League
Enemy Difficulty: 3
Easy 4.5 / Medium 7.5 / Hard 9.5
Reward: Pretty Pink Ribbon
This Challenge is the most difficult in this pack and isn't available until you've made it to the last world in the Story Mode and unlocked the Opal League (the highest tier in the Arena).
The premise of this one is that all the heroes in your party dress up as their favorite hero and then reveal themselves at the same time... to be dressed as Clark. Is the medic really everyone's hero? Well, I'll leave that for players to debate, but these four Clarks seem just as real as can be. They don't just look like Clark, they're all slinging Cures and other signature Clark moves. That would be ideal if your goal was to simply survive the song. Instead, you have to kill 7 enemies. Slow Field and Flash will help to debuff your opponents, most everything else will either heal you or buff you. Only Smite will actually do any damage... and only three of the four have Smite available. Prepare to Smite thine enemies. A lot.
Passing this challenge will earn you a Pretty Pink Ribbon that grants immunity to its wearer from any debuffs. Yes, that is as awesome as it sounds, but remember that the magic items only work for the wearer. Of course, if you equip this on Gwen (the Protector) and also equip her with her Martyr move, you can really maximize this item's utility. Martyr lets Gwen remove all negative status effects from her allies, moving them to herself. If she's wearing the Pretty Pink Ribbon, she removes her allies debuffs and... that's it. They're just all gone. Well, unless there is a special condition on the level itself, causing the status effect, but those are few and far between.
This is the first DLC I've gotten for The Metronomicon and I imagine this is going to be fairly representative of the formula that will be used to bring in additional songs. The songs will have their own Challenges that they are tied to and will be spread across the different Challenge tiers, unless there's a pack specifically aimed at a specific Challenge rating or something. I don't like the fact that you have to "buy" the songs in-game after you buy the DLC to get them in the DJ Room, but that's not a big deal. All songs are available in the Freeplay Mode, so it really comes down to whether the DLC is worth the price of admission.
If you like Chiptunes and, more specifically, these three songs, this might be something to add to your game. You can familiarize yourself with the songs using the links below. The Grabby Plucky Thing seems fairly legit and the Pretty Pink Ribbon can be awesome. I wish I could equip all of my characters with that, but giving it to Gwen is a close second. The Itchy Mustached Glasses don't fit my playstyle, as I prefer not to have to concentrate as much on healing, but your mileage may vary.
The original game cost $19.99 USD and had 46 songs. That comes out to a price-per-song of around 43 cents. At three songs for $1.99, the DLC costs around 66 cents per song. Is this a viable way to compare costs? Probably not; the original game's price also included making the game itself, so the part of the cost that can be directly attributed to the songs would probably be less. Further, as most things go, you usually will save money when you buy in bulk. Also, not every song from the original game has its own, dedicated Challenge (and hence, reward), so, no... you can't compare these as apples to apples.
All that said, the DLC is $1.99 USD. Two dollars. If that seems a bit much, maybe watch for a Steam Sale. If you're a fan of these artists, love Chiptunes, or really want one of the above mentioned magic items, maybe it's worth it to you without the sale.