In July of last year, Taito released their psychedelic rhythm game Groove Coaster [$2.99] to much critical acclaim. It was created by the same team that did the epic Space Invaders Infinity Gene [$4.99 / Free], so you know it had a wild visual style and a unique progression mechanic as you played and slowly "evolved" the game, unlocking new tracks to play as well as new modes and other fun stuff. We thought Groove Coaster was simply awesome in our 5 star review.

Today, Taito has released Groove Coaster Zero [Free], a free-to-play take on the original game. I'm not totally sure what prompted this after a year and a half, but likely they wanted to remove the barrier of entry to get more people to try out the game, something I can get behind.

The original Groove Coster's normal price tag is $2.99 and comes with a multitude of songs that slowly unlock as you progress, as well as a number of songs available for purchase via IAP through the in-game store. Groove Coaster Zero has all the included songs of the original and the add-on ones, but there's also a special bonus. If you have the original paid version of Groove Coaster installed when you fire up Groove Coaster Zero for the first time, you'll be rewarded with some exclusive tracks that aren't available anywhere else. That's a pretty cool bonus.

Groove Coaster Zero also contains a selection of completely new tracks, and there's plans for even more being added to the game in future updates. Previously, the downloadable tracks would run a dollar a piece through IAP. In Groove Coaster Zero, a new in-game currency system has been implemented, so you'll actually buy coin packs and purchase new tracks with the coins themselves, which as far as I can tell with just the short time I've been playing you are not able to earn through playing. You do occasionally get a downloadable track "recommended" to you from the game, which lets you play it once for free to try it out. Finally, there's now rankings for individual track scores and a special bonus badge for not missing a single beat during a track, as well as widescreen support for iPhone 5 and the 5th generation iPod touch.

If you've never heard of Groove Coaster or just haven't gotten around to trying it out before, then definitely give Groove Coaster Zero a shot for free. If you own the first game, make sure you have it installed on your device when you start up the new game and enjoy some exclusive tracks. Also, you can drop by the new thread in our forums for Groove Coaster Zero for even more impressions and discussion.

  • http://www.vitaltitles.com/ Nick

    Groove coaster is far and away one of the best games on iOS. I love the soundtrack, I love the gameplay and my kids also love the game which is an added bonus.

    I can't wait to download this, and am thrilled to see the songs that are unlocked from having original game.

    I hope this gets more people interested in this excellent game.

  • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, the first Groove Coaster was (and still is) one of my absolute favourite iOS games. The music, the style, the gameplay were all faultless.

    However this new game is free-to-play and looking at the shop section it's 200 in-game coins to buy a song. To buy enough coins for all of them will cost over £15! Considering the majority are available in the original Groove Coaster for £1.99 this doesn't seem like value for money or a good way to encourage more people to buy songs.

    In fairness I've unlocked 3 or 4 songs so far, but I'm not sure if the core bulk of tracks can be unlocked this way. My guess would be they still have to be paid for.

    My other bugbear is it still doesn't seem to support the new iPad retina display. It's great there's iPhone 5 support but it would be nice if it also supported the full resolution of the iPad 3/4. The wireframe graphics could really look amazing at full resolution.

    So while I'm really happy to get more Groove Coaster, it's a bit tinged with disappointment.

  • monsieurfreeze

    I really enjoy this game and it reminds me one of my favorite in the same genre: REZ ( by the way I hope someday it will be available on the store )

    Truly a good experience to dig in that game, but the only little black dot is the playlist ( and IAP :) )

  • http://www.buraq-technologies.com/ ambreen11

    Groove coaster is one of the best games on iOS. I agree with your wonderful input. Great feature that keep it more friendly for the lover of games.