Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
User Interface Rating:
Re-use/Replay Value Rating:
Pulse Racer is a rhythm game where players must guide a ship at insanely high speeds to collect as many notes as possible, all while avoiding obstacles along the way. It’s what gamers would expect from a rhythm game with some flying action thrown into the mix. Pulse Racer comes with over a dozen courses that are automatically generated by the the sound of electro artist F-777, and each course is generated to match the music that plays. Additionally, gamers can have the app build tracks based on their own music selection thanks to a unique algorithm.
The game is best played with headphones but it’s just as enjoyable without. Before playing, check out the options menu to select either touch or tilt controls. I tried both control methods and preferred to use tilt. Tapping on the Start menu allows players to select a track to play. Durations are shown as well as the total number of notes, the level of intensity and the best score.
The goal in each course is to guide the ship safely along its cylindrical path to collect notes. Collecting the notes creates a chain that builds a multiplier. Missing a note breaks the chain, and gamers must start trying to build another one. There are obstacles that quickly pop up on the screen, which makes collecting notes challenging at times. At the end of a level, gamers are shown their stats and rated on a grading scale from a low “D” to a perfect “S”. Gamers can replay the level or select a new one.
When players grow tired of the tracks in the game, they can create their own track packs. However, adding a new track requires either a URL to the mp3 or a URL to download a track file. A disclaimer states that the system is for personal use only and using it to share music with friends can have legal consequences. It would be nice to be able to just select a song from the iTune’s library instead, but I'm not sure if that violates any sort of copyright.
There are a few other disappointments worth mentioning. One is that the screen fades to black while playing when using the tilt controls, which was quite frustrating. Pulse Racer also doesn’t have enough variety in it to keep it from getting repetitive. Being able to change the racing ship, different color schemes, and the addition of obstacles would help make it more enjoyable. Additionally, there are no power-ups thrown into the game to keep things interesting and there aren’t Game Center leaderboards or achievements.
With that being said, Pulse Racer isn't the best game I've ever player but it's also certainly not the worst. With a few adjustments it has the potential to take on competitors, but it didn't grab my attention enough to stay on the home screen for long.