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Tag: Rhythm »

It Came From Canada: Record Run, Harmonix's Rhythmic Endless Runner

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 29th, 2014

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.

PAX East 2014 - Get Ready to Feel the Rhythm with Jungle Rumble

Posted by Rob Rich on April 14th, 2014

It’s been a long time coming, but Disco Pixel’s Jungle Rumble is almost upon us!

Jungle Rumble is very much a rhythm game. It’s also kind of a real time strategy game. It’s being described as “Patapon meets Advance Wars” and I have to say it doesn’t seem too far from the truth. Controlling your monkey (or squads of monkeys) is simply a matter of tapping your commands in time with the beat. Move, run, toss coconuts, that sort of thing. The goal was to make an iOS rhythm game that allows the player to make decisions rather than simply trying to stick to a specific script or pattern.

I have to admit Jungle Rumble feels pretty good. It doesn’t necessarily look like it from the screen shots but it really does call to mind games like Patapon in a very pleasant way. I had a little trouble keeping the rhythm at times but I’m fairly certain that had more to do with a noisy show floor than anything. Still, I’m interested in seeing how it plays in a much quieter setting.

Jungle Rumble should be releasing within the next couple of weeks (probably). I didn’t get a set number for the price, but it’s definitely going to be a premium game because the folks at Disco Pixel “don’t want to monkey around with micro-transactions.” Yeah.

Circuits Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Mike Deneen on March 4th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: MUSICAL MEMORY
Trying to remember much of anything in a day is hard enough, but try piecing together parts of a song to make a whole, just from memory?
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Kickstarting echoChamber: A New Party Rhythm Game

Posted by Jennifer Allen on December 6th, 2013

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.

Pulse Racer Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Angela LaFollette on November 6th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: FAST PACED
Pulse Racer is a rhythm-based game where players fly along generated courses to collect notes that are synchronized to the music that plays.
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Dropchord Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on August 2nd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: DUB-L FINE
Dropchord is a hypnotic treat for the eyes, ears, and fingers.
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Space Beats Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By David Rabinowitz on July 9th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FEEL THE BEAT
Space Beats is a musical arcade game made by a musician and visual artist.
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RokLienz: On Tour Review

Posted by Rob Rich on July 8th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: Creativity, Inc
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Playtime Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

[rating:overall]

Anyone who's ever watched "The Muppet Show" or "Rocky and Bullwinkle" should be able to understand the importance (and challenges) of creating something for both kids and adults. It's a difficult task that can alienate one or both if handled improperly, so I had some reservations when starting Roklienz: On Tour for the first time. However, aside from a few minor missteps it straddles that line quite well.

The Roklienz are rockin' aliens (hah, get it?) looking to dominate their home planets with some sweet tunes. Yup, that's right, Roklienz: On Tour is a music game. Not just any music game, but a sort of iPad adaptation of Elite Beat Agents (or Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan for purists). For those unfamiliar with this particular style of music interaction it essentially boils down to following the on-screen prompts. Players have to tap/swipe/spin/etc the right icons in the proper order and in-time with the music in order to keep the crowd happy and complete each level. The better they do the more coins they earn to put towards unlocking and buying new planets, extras, or power-ups.

Roklienz: On Tour's gameplay isn't groundbreaking at this point, but it's still quite excellent. Following all the various prompts in the proper order can become a real challenge in later levels and it all blends together with the music really well. I've yet to need to resort to using any of the power-ups but I can certainly appreciate their presence. Plus I imagine they're more for the kids. And speaking of, I have to say I'm a big fan of the sketchy/scribbly art style. It's simple and there aren't more than a handful of frames for each animation, but there's a distinct personality shining through all those colorful critters.

I noticed a few technical issues with Roklienz: On Tour, such as a couple of crashes and prompts that don't always feel like they're timed quite right, but my biggest problem is with the pacing and difficulty. The difficulty, in short, is ridiculously easy throughout the entire first planet. I'm sure it's mostly due to wanting to give young iPad players a chance at having fun, and I can totally appreciate that, but it drags on a little too long and feed in to the pacing problem. The pacing problem being that in order to progress I have to play through every song four times in a row, with the difficulty going up a little each time. It starts to become a drag after the third consecutive time.

While I would have preferred having a way to "fast-forward" to the more difficult stuff, I still had fun with Roklienz: On Tour. It's silly and doesn't take itself too seriously, yet provides a lot of unlockable content and challenges for those willing to stick it out through the first third.

Way of the Dogg Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lee Hamlet on June 28th, 2013
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: IN THE DOGG HOUSE
Part Kung-Fu epic, part rhythm-based fighting game and part self-promotion, Way of the Dogg is a fan-only affair, if that.
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Rhythm Rocket Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on November 13th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SIMPLE BEATS
Race a rocket to the beat of your own music, while dodging asteroids. Rhythm Rocket might be a little too simple for extended sessions but it is appealing.
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Buddha Finger Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on October 31st, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: TAP
Somewhat repetitive during extended sessions, Buddha Finger still provides some fun rhythm gaming style ideas and a dash of personality for good measure.
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Funky Smugglers Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Denis Farr on October 15th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: FUNKY TSA CONFISCATIONS
Play as a funky TSA agent, sent to make sure those mean smugglers don't get anything past you. Swipe, drag, and get it out of here!
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Synesthetic Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jordan Minor on July 23rd, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: GOOD TRIP
Turn any song into a psychedelic, interactive roller coaster of rhythm.
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DancePad Review

By Kevin Stout on July 9th, 2012
DancePad may be big rhythm game for a mobile platform.
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Disco Kitten Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jason Wadsworth on June 23rd, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: QUICK PAWS REQUIRED
Move a dancing kitten around to disco beats and avoid getting shocked while filling up a greedy friend with a constant flow of electricity.
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