Developer: Kadir Kertis
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Melodrive is a futuristic racer that allows players to choose from a near-infinite selection of courses, because they are individually generated from the songs in their music library. In what is clearly an homage to Wipeout, the fluorescent lights and holographic constructs guide racers as they zoom through a neon metropolis. Whether in day or night mode, the clunky but nostalgic visuals worked just fine, and without any noticeable frame-rate issues to speak of.

20140503-230105.jpgThe speed of the ship is governed by the BPM of the track, though why Hell’s Bells by AC/DC reduced it to a snail’s pace I’ll never know. At around 107 BPM I expected to be flying along at a nice leisurely pace, not at a painful crawl followed by breakneck speeds.

I simply have no idea what aspect of the music generates the barriers or coins either. It’s certainly not the snare, bass, guitar, or vocals, so it makes me think that they’re not in sync with the music at all. Regardless of the type of track playing (and I tried quite a few), they seem too bunched together to reflect any aspect of the music. All I know is that I confused the hell out of it by playing some Tool – the various time signatures ensured that the pace was erratic and generally all over the place.

20140503-230051.jpgControls are responsive enough, with a tap or hold on either side to lean, a swipe up or down to jump or swoop, and a double-tap to fire. Unfortunately it’s not the controls that are the problem. In most cases the gameplay either feels too chaotic or too slow (sometimes even switching sporadically between the two), because it’s just too difficult to find a track that hits that the happy medium between the two. Even the most rhythmic 4/4 rock ‘n’ roll yields unwieldy results.

The thing is, Melodrive has the potential to be an exciting music-based racer, if the course generator could only be tweaked a tad to declutter and regulate the tracks. The execution just isn’t up to scratch at the moment.

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