Fuser is rhythm maestro Harmonix’s latest music game for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch that provides you with all the tools needed to become a festival-headlining DJ. A follow-up from its innovative table-top release DropMix, the game features a vast catalogue of songs, from Top 40 hits to indie darling, taking them apart to their individual parts and letting you create unique remixes and originals.
But for all the freedom Fuser affords, the possibilities and rulesets may not be as immediately straightforward as the developer’s other rhythm-oriented titles like Rock Band. So whether you’re a newcomer or aspiring DJ, here’s some tips and tricks that will help you master those decks.
Don’t ignore the campaign
While freestyling is where Fuser is at its most rewarding, you might not be aware of what’s available at your fingertips, such as cueing, the volume and tempo slider – or even being able to add more sounds like filters or your own instrumental loops.
The campaign is the best way to learn all these functions as it gently introduces you to each tool and game mechanic as you work your way across six different festival stages. If you perform well, you can also earn in-game currency used to unlock plenty of cool cosmetic rewards or even brand-new songs.
Timing is key
Whether you’re after those five-star ratings in the campaign or going head-to-head in an online DJ battle, timing is crucial to getting a good score. Pay attention to the Timeline displayed above your deck. For a good mix, drop a new track at the Downbeat, which is the line indicating the end of a bar. Get this perfect and you’ll get more points.
For more points, there are also Pickups. They are unique to each track and sample type, giving you indications of a good time to insert a specific vocal or sample, which often won’t be the same as the Downbeat. Pickups show up as coloured dots on your Timeline when you hover over any given track. If the dots aren’t clear enough, you can also hold the button of your sample, which will show all of that sample’s available Pickups across the timeline.
If you’re having trouble getting the timing down, you may need to recalibrate your controls. This can be done by going to Settings and selecting Calibration.
Pay attention to goals
For certain modes, such as the campaign, you’ll be given goals on the right hand side of the screen. Completing these is essential to scoring well especially when well-timed.
Certain goals require you doing something, such as playing with only two discs for a certain length of time before it’s satisfied. Be aware that if you deviate too early, progress will be paused, though if you added in an extra disc, you can just eject another to keep going.
Pay attention to timed goals that need to be met before the measure has been counted down. If you have a goal to play a track for a set measure but you don’t have enough time then that goal won’t count.
Take crowd requests
To earn even more points during a set, look out for requests from the crowd. These appear as speech bubbles that might ask for a specific song, genre, era or just a change of a specific instrument.
You might get two requests at the same time, such as a request for a song from the ’90s while another asks for rock. Instead of answering these separately, you could get a combo bonus by finding a track that satisfies both, such as Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’.
Even without requests, it’s also important to keep the crowd’s engagement bar filled or you risk losing their energy and interest, which can abruptly end your set. There should be a flow to the set with highs and lows. Keep things fresh, mix up your sound with different tracks and genres, and don’t be afraid to take away certain layers to bring the crowd down so you can bring them back up again.
Organise and expand your Crate
It may help to organise your Crate in an order you are familiar with – whether it’s organising songs in chronological order or by genre, so that you don’t get flustered frantically searching for the right track.
Don’t worry if you’ve accrued more songs than the Crate can fit, you can get around it by creating Snapshots (on the Switch, this is done just by pressing up on the d-pad). The feature creates a Snapshot of your current mix – including discs in play, tempo and more – which can later be added to your crate and used the same way you would a loop from a song.
It’s also a great way to capture a good mix you had in that moment, which can be easily reused in a future set. And if your current Crate is filled with other songs, it then means you can sneak in more samples based on what’s in your Snapshots.
Make and share your mixes with the community
In Freestyle mode, you can capture a 32-bar mix and upload it for the rest of the Fuser community to enjoy. Just hit the capture button, press record and create whatever mix you want. You’ll be able to rewind and tweak it until you’re satisfied before naming and uploading it to the server.
More importantly, you’ll get XP for any mix you upload, so if you’re getting tired of grinding through the campaign, this is a more fun way of levelling up and getting in-game currency to unlock new songs.
No fail mode is your friend
Finding the campaign too tricky? Then don’t be afraid to toggle on No Fail mode to avoid the stress of having to satisfy the demanding crowd. It’s perfectly fine doing this for the whole campaign and you can always toggle it off when you’re more comfortable and want to crack those high scores.
But by all means, if you’ve learned what you need in the first few couple stages of the campaign and don’t want to stick with it, then feel free to just head to Freestyle or the online multiplayer modes where you can still earn XP. Just remember to have fun with the music!