Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
The rhythm game genre is sort of an odd one. Often, the method of input is simply a facet of the game rather than the entire focus of the experience. But since the biggest games of the genre - such as Guitar Hero, Frequency, and Dance Dance Revolution - made tapping to the beat a fun, exciting style of gameplay, there have been a veritable cornucopia of games trying to deliver that experience. And of course the touch-interface of a tablet or smartphone is the natural home for the genre. The best of these games deliver an excellent fusion of sound and visuals, making the otherwise featureless gameplay of ‘tap a lot’ an exciting, engagingly good time.
Incandescence unfortunately fails to do so.
Incandescence’s gameplay isn’t ‘rhythm’ so much as ‘tap fast and lose abruptly’. It consists of rasping one’s fingers in sequence at greater and greater speeds, generating a constant stream of points until either the sequence is broken or one slows down too much. The game doesn't define the sequence or rhythm of tapping - rather, you just tap with as many or as few fingers as you feel like, and try to keep up the speed - we're supposed to tap and that’s all there really is to it. After every session Incandescence prompted me to share my score on every social media platform it could think of, and a constant stream of advertisements ran across it the entire time it was open.
The visuals in Incandescence are rather uninspired. Granted, the gameplay in no way relies on the graphics, but even a sound-visualizer style background would have been more interesting to look at than that odd, pulsating black pyramid. The sound, which should have been the driving factor of the game, is similarly lackluster.
Incandescence also crashed several times on startup, and when it did run it took a long time to load up. I was quick to blame my aging iPad 2, but even with all other apps turned off and freshly restarted it still crashed and lagged.
The bottom line is that, while its creators describe it as an 'experimental' game Incandescence is barely a novelty. You'll likely spend as much time downloading and opening it as you will playing it.