App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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Ghost Beat is a tiny little rhythm game that understands the platform it's built for. Its simple controls, clean aesthetic, and timing-based gameplay all work in concert to make for an experience that is challenging without ever feeling overwhelming given the limitations of small screen gaming. Although I wish the game was a little less one-note, Ghost Beat is a solid game given the asking price.
In Ghost Beat, you control a round ghost-like... thing as it swirls around inside some kind of circular, abstract arena full of shifting tunnels and hidden dangers. While your ghost moves automatically, you need to tap on either the right or left sides of the screen to have the ghost change lanes within the arena so they don't run into walls, spikes, locked doors, etc.
As you play a level in Ghost Beat, a song plays, and the maneuvering you're asked to do is timed along to the music. As you play, a percentage meter in the center of the arena lets you know how far along in the song you are, and your goal is to clear the level through the end of the song by not running into any objects whatsoever.
Ghost Beat's rhythm-based demands aren't exactly typical of the genre, as it doesn't ask you to constantly be tapping to the beat or other rhythm sections of a song. Instead, it breaks up songs into distinct bursts of maneuvering you need to perform timed to the drums, while occasionally giving you little breaks in between.
This feels nice for a variety of reasons, including the fact that precision-based gaming on touch screens is tricky. This doesn't end up making Ghost Beat feel too easy though because each of the game's levels demand absolute perfection in order to complete them. If you hit even one obstacle, your run is over, and the level automatically restarts (which is also a nice touch).
Each of Ghost Beat's levels has its own, unique mechanic when it comes to the way the arena morphs and changes. One has gravity pads that push and pull your ghost automatically while another has doors that you need to gather keys to unlock, for example. All of these ideas add welcome freshness to the base gameplay. I just wish there was more room for these ideas to grow.
In its current state, Ghost Beat contains only five levels. You can spend quite a bit of time on each of these levels in trying to master them, but it still feels like a thin offering. It also doesn't help that Ghost Beat's entire soundtrack is a lot of same-y sounding EDM tracks. They aren't bad, but hopefully some more variety will come to future levels of Ghost Beat (which are "coming soon").
The bottom line
Ghost Beat is a cool rhythm game that certainly marches to its own beat. It could certainly do with some more song variety and levels, but its current offerings are enjoyable enough for a dollar.