Developer: Koolhaus Games
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0025In IMP: Surf the Music, you control a “board-riding Imp” as he surfs along the audio track, picking up “bits of funk” as he goes. Your in-game actions directly impact the soundtrack, so the end result is proof of how well you’ve done. If you’ve been waiting for an AudioSurf clone, this is the closest I’ve seen—but you might want to wait a little longer. True, IMP is cheap, and it’s a decent game, but there’s just not much variety here.

There are eight levels of “funtastic” tracks. Using the tilt controls (which, by the way, are fantastically executed), you avoid obstacles and snag those bits of funk. Sometimes the track splits and turns or goes through a tunnel. And…well, that’s pretty much how the game works.

At first, I had fun. I mean, hey, bright colors, quirky soundtrack, intuitive controls…it was entertaining. But entertainment quickly turned into boredom, because there just wasn’t enough variety. The game isn’t very difficult at all, and there was nothing to keep me hooked. This problem—simply “decent” gameplay instead of anything phenomenal—persists throughout the game.

The music is upbeat but consistent. Even with the additional elements that you pick up along the way, the music doesn’t really get that interesting; I didn’t hear a lot of variation among the different tracks. This is a shame, because a music game without a catchy track just can’t cut it. I’m not saying that the music is bad, but it just isn’t memorable, and I never felt truly connected to the soundtrack. The graphics, too, are nothing special. 3D only really works if done well; IMP’s images won’t knock your socks off. Again, it isn’t subpar so much as simply standard.

Sadly, IMP just doesn’t have enough content or uniqueness for me to justify a purchase. It’s really just a cloned concept that hovers above shovelware but below inspired reinterpretations like Harbor Master. It won’t necessarily be a bad purchase. I just believe that there are many, many exceptional games in the App Store, and it would be a shame to pass them up in favor of IMP.

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