Posts Tagged Rhythm
Harmonix, creators of the Rock Band series, have soft-launched Record Run on to the Canadian App Store. You will likely not be surprised to learn that it’s a rhythm-based game, but in a mobile-friendly endless runner format. So, I put on my athletic boogie shoes for this edition of It Came From Canada!
The gist of the game is to dodge obstacles and make it to the end of each level, but that’s oversimplifying things. See, each obstacle is meant to be dodged in time, with more points scored and more of a multiplier boost for timing the jumps, slides, and sideways movements properly. Of course everything is set to music, and players can import their own music to listen to while they play, with the game’s levels synchronized to the music. This does tend to work better with tracks that have a consistent tempo to them: the Animals as Leaders tracks I tried didn’t work so well, but electronic tracks worked a lot better.
Essentially, much like Rock Band, Record Run becomes about maintaining success in order to get high scores and the elusive five-star rating. In particular, continued success is necessary: getting and maintaining high multipliers is key. And they can get really high, I’ve seen as high as 10x, so repetition becomes important. Figuring out when to make swipes is harder once the 3x multiplier is reached, because that’s when the world shifts to its extremely-colorful mode – where the main character transforms into a creature of some sort (the first one available transforms into a flaming skeleton), and the world dances to the music. But most importantly, the indicators for when to swipe go away, and players are on their own as for when they have to.
Record Run is monetized through the standard two-tier currency, with records being used for upgrades, and backstage passes as the hard currency used for unlocking additional song slots and additional characters. It will be interesting to see how well the game monetizes: when I spoke with Harmonix at GDC, they gave off the attitude that they were just jumping in feet-first with this sort of free-to-play game, so balancing everything could take some time. I expect some sort of daily challenge incentive to be added as well, along with perhaps an energy system – the game is fairly simple and would be most rewarding perhaps through a system that conditions the game to be played in short bursts. So, before it launches worldwide, it could have a long way to go, and could still change a lot.
Approaching things differently from the rest is always good, right? That’s what the folks at Little Bit Games are clearly thinking, too. Having previously covered their efforts earlier in the year, my interest was piqued thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign they’ve recently launched.
EchoChamber is the title hoping to be funded by it. It’s described as a rhythm game with a “unique twist.” It’s a free-to-play local multiplayer title that uses positional audio to get players to follow various cues and perform gestures in time with the music. I took the time to learn more from Cody Lee, co-founder and developer at Little bit Games.
148Apps: How did the idea for echoChamber come about?
Cody Lee (CL): The idea for echoChamber came about after playing the game SpaceTeam with friends. It seemed like such a unique and original idea and utilized your phone for multiplayer in a way that I’d never seen before. It kinda blew my mind and I started to think of other ways we could use mobile devices for multiplayer experiences that you couldn’t get on any other platform. I spent a lot of time picturing people physically standing around with friends, trying to come up with games that required that physical space, and that used the capabilities of modern cell phones.
148Apps: Why the decision to be free to play?
CL: echoChamber is a multiplayer only game, and is more fun the more people you are playing with. It seemed natural for us to release the game as a free download so people can start playing it as easily as possible with their friends without requiring everybody to commit to purchasing it. We’ll be releasing additional tracks as paid DLC for people who want to extend their experience beyond the base tracks.
148Apps: How hard has it been to implement the positional sound effects?
CL: Doing the positional audio itself isn’t too bad. It’s really just a matter of adjusting volume for the different devices to get the desired effect we want. The hardest part has been synching the playback of the track on all of the devices while accounting for network latency. If the sound is out of sync at all, the positional effect is lost, and you get more of an echo. If it’s REALLY out of sync it just sounds like garbage!
148Apps: What other challenges have you faced?
CL: echoChamber started out as more of a Pong-like game where sound would move around and players would have to tap their screens to hit the “ball” away. The problem is it’s hard to know when the ball has reached you. It get’s louder so you know it’s closer, but how loud is the “loudest” and “closest”. That’s why we ended up going the rhythm game route. When there’s a set beat, and the ball moves to the beat, it’s easier to know when the sound will “hit”. We’ve since moved away from the Pong aspect of the game and are focusing more on an overall fun musical experience instead.
148Apps: When do you hope to release echoChamber?
CL: If the Kickstarter goes well, we hope to release some time early next year. If it doesn’t go well… we’re not sure.
The Kickstarter campaign runs until December 27, with a wide selection of backer rewards to cover everyone’s budget.
Thanks to Cody for taking the time to answer our questions. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on echoChamber‘s progress.
Beatstream is a rhythm game that dynamically generates levels to go along with a player's music library. The graphics are unimpressive, but the game play is fun and the replay value is as big as one's catalog of music.
Read The Full Review »
The top gift on most holiday lists this year is undoubtedly a new iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. To celebrate, Disney Mobile’s very popular rhythm music game Tap Tap Revenge is running its biggest holiday deal yet. Leading up to New Year’s Eve, Tap Tap Revenge is giving away a song a day, including a few holiday favorites, Grammy nominations, and hit singles from the world’s biggest music acts, including Cold Play, who’s hit new song “Hurts Like Heaven” is Sunday’s free track. Lady Gaga’s “Marry The Night” was Thursday’s free track.
As for holiday cheer, they’re also giving away Bootsy Collins & Snoop Dogg’s “Happy Holidaze 2012” on December 26. Other hit songs being given away for free in the holiday promotion include, “Feel So Close” from Calvin Harris, “Body Work” from Morgan Page (ft. Tegan & Sara) and The Band Perry’s smash hit “If I Die Young.” Other bands include Alkaline Trio, She Wants Revenge, Coleman & Chris, Ivy, Chancellor Warhol and The Outfield.
It’s unfortunate that we’ll almost never see DJ Hero on the iPad. It was an ideal game for such a device but as it sold rather poorly for the various consoles, it’s probably never going to happen. Still, this is an ideal time for a game such as Playpen Studios’ Skillz: The DJ Game.
Looking distinctly like an iPad equivalent of DJ Hero, Skillz offers a career mode as well as full mixing using crossfades, scratching and samples. The touch screen interface ensures that it’s simple to get to grips with and a series of achievements and unlockable venues and playable characters keeps the game fresh. Tracks recently revealed for launch include:
• Kid Cudi Vs. Crookers – “Day ‘N’ Nite” Vs. Hoxton Whores – “Friday Saturday Love”
• Mr Scruff – “Test The Sound”
• Roots Manuva – “Witness (1 Hope)”
• Roots Manuva – “Buff Nuff”
• Guilty Simpson & Oh No – “Futuristic” feat. MED
• Poirier – “Wha-La-La-Leng” feat. Face T
• Nu Tone – “Never Together” feat. Logistics
• “Stones Throw Megamix 1” featuring tracks from artists including Dam Funk, James Pants, and Oh No
• “Stones Throw Megamix 2” featuring tracks from artists including Maker, Lazer Sword and Cx kidtronic
• “Om Megamix” featuring tracks from artists including King Kooba, Andy Caldwall and Chuck Love
• “Ninja Tune Megamix” featuring tracks from artists including Blockhead, Ty, Mr Scruff and Roots Manuva
There’ll be 25 tracks in all.
Check out the gameplay video below. Skillz: The DJ Game is out soon and we’ll be sure to cover it.