Category Archives: Music / Rhythm

'Lanota' Review - You Spin Me Round

Ironically, the very success of the rhythm genre back at Guitar Hero’s launch on home consoles in 2005 was ultimately its undoing. A complete over saturation of the genre in under five years - spanning many different formats, even more spin-offs and unbeknownst amount of instrument-shaped controllers - meant the genre vanished almost as quickly as it had arrived. Rhythm game fans should not be disheartened, however - many developers took this as an opportunity to create well-crafted and unique music titles that were not iterative, and used the best features of the platform to their advantage, instead of relying on plastic peripherals as a crutch. The App Store was one of the delighted recipients of this new wave of rhythm games, and developers like Rayark have led the way with stunning efforts such as VOEZ [Free] that have impressed us in the past for putting a spin on the tired formula without becoming too derivative from the core elements of the genre that attracted so many fans in the first place. Lanota [$1.99] follows this trend - while some of the more radical attempts at distinguishing itself from the crowd can occasionally become a distration, developers Noxy Games have crafted an immersive and beautiful world that makes merely tapping in time to a song become a fully fledged adventure...

'LUMINES PUZZLE & MUSIC' Soft Launches in New Zealand, Australia and Japan

Lumines on iOS has always hypothetically been a perfect fit. The compulsive amalgamation of high score breaking action of Tetris, with one of the best soundtracks in a puzzle game ever, was incredible on the limited portability of the PSP back in 2005, and would be even better given a proper release on smartphone devices. While it may not be the first game of the series on iPhone (a rather half-hearted rushed effort released back in 2009, but we don't talk about that anymore), we finally have a title that is truly deserving of the Lumines name. LUMINES PUZZLE AND MUSIC has just soft launched in New Zealand, Japan and Australia and, despite being a paid title, it is certainly one worth buying for any fans in these regions - or anyone who can circumvent the region restrictions of the App Store...




Turns out there are other games being released onto the App Store this week that don't involve throwing capsules at critters. Lanota [$1.99], which really impressed us when we looked at it for the first time last week, has circumvented the usual Thursday midnight rush of releases and is out now on iOS. Evoking many great concepts that we loved in our review of VOEZ [Free] last month, Lanota merges rhythm action with a beautiful artistic narrative describing a world that is slowly turning monochromatic through the loss of music and color, and how you must correct this by 'tuning' to a song at each level to slowly restore society...

'Crypt of the NecroDancer Pocket Edition' Review - Let it Steal Your Heart

One of my favorite games of the past few years on PC is Crypt of the NecroDancer [$4.99], a rhythmic roguelike that I tried out with a friend, and I fell in love with the whole concept of the game. It's a roguelike where movement is set to the beat of a fantastic soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky, with the idea being that the entire game can be controlled by the four directional inputs on a Dance Dance Revolution dance pad. After enjoying my first time with the game, I rushed out and bought the game with its soundtrack on Steam. ..

'POLYFORGE' Brings the Zen Back to the App Store This July

The App Store and mobile gaming in general can have a legitimate claim to pioneer many aspects of the medium that are, in 2016, taken for granted. The obvious ones may be popularising touch screens, gyroscopic controls or the freemium/IAP focused monetisation system, however personally following the iOS scene for so long has shown to me how video games can be more of a transcendental experience. Zen Bound [$2.99] and its sequel by Secret Exit were the key examples of this - a soothing musical score coupled with calming yet stimulating gameplay and visuals created something that was more than the sum of its parts. POLYFORGE - A Symphony of Shapes, Sound and Color by Impact Blue Studios appears to be aiming for a similar experience, and the developers have released a trailer showing off its unique style and mechanics:..

'VOEZ' review - Hits All The High Notes

Over the years, Rayark have made a name for themselves in the iOS community for consistently rolling out quality premium games on the App Store. 2015’s Implosion - Never Lose Hope [$4.99] was extremely well received both in our review and on the forums, and left us waiting for what the Taiwanese developers would astound us with next. VOEZ [Free] is, in many ways, a departure - it’s free to play and moves away from the exhilarating action based gameplay of Implosion. However, a return to rhythm games which initially solidified their reputation coupled with excellent production values and fresh spins on a tired and stale genre means Rayark have stuck to the formula which has won them over so many loyal fans...

Lost In Harmony [$3.99] is the latest game from Yoan Fanise, whose work at Ubisoft included directing Valiant Hearts [Free] and Rayman Raving Rabbids, along with sound design and audio direction on titles such as Beyond Good & Evil, Rabbids Go Home, and Assassin's Creed 3. With that kind of resume, it's perhaps not surprising that Lost In Harmony attempts to be an audio/visual spectacle, a heart-wrenching experience, and a unique hybrid of gameplay styles all at once. It succeeds completely on the first point and reasonably well on the second, but there are some definite issues that crop up with the third point. You can get a lot out of Lost In Harmony, but you're going to have to forgive a few things along the way...

When Kim Kardashian: Hollywood came out on the App Store, many scoffed at the whole conept and saw it as a silly little thing. And then the game started making a zillion (slight exaggeration) dollars a month, and is still almost in the 100 top grossing games. So yeah, Glu Games definitely found a pot of gold at the end of that celebrity rainbow. Today, Katy Perry is officially following Kim's footsteps with the worldwide release of her own game, Katy Perry Pop [Free], and will hope to also sing her way to iOS riches. When you compare the two games, you'll see a very sharp distinction; in Katy Perry Pop, you actually have to use a talent to succeed, which isn't the case in the Kim Kardashian game...

'Groove Planet' Review - Click Track

'Groove Planet' Review - Click Track

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December 7th, 2015 12:32 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4.5 stars, Free, Games, Music / Rhythm, Reviews, Time Management, Universal
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Clearly, Fizzpow and Noodlecake hit on something special with Bitcoin Billionaire [Free]. It certainly wasn’t the first clicker ever, or even the first on the App Store. Still, it seems to easily be one of the more influential of the bunch. Just about every clicker that comes out these days has the same combination of upgrades, investments, random card draws, and opt-in video ads. It’s a great formula, and I’ve sunk an embarrassing number of hours into Billionaire over the last year or so. Still, when I reviewed Muchos Tacos a few months back I quietly decided not to try any more clickers unless one did something new and unexpected. (And sadly, folding tacos instead of tapping just doesn’t do it for me.) In fact, the only reason I downloaded Animoca Brands' Groove Planet [Free] at all was because I didn’t realize it was a clicker. And while it does adhere to the Billionaire formula fairly closely, thankfully it does have one rather novel trick up its record sleeve...

TouchArcade Game of the Week: 'Groove Planet'

The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one...

I mentioned recently in my review of Baseball Apocalypse [$0.99] that I love impossible games. One of those games comes from developer/publisher Invictus. Now, Invictus puts out a lot of games, very few of which actually interest me, though they seem to have found their footing in the last couple years. There are a handful of gems in their library that really truly shine. I'm talking the supremely elegant Greed Corp [$0.99], the heavy metal monster mash Tap 'n Slash [Free], and the game that I name dropped in said review, Give It Up! [$0.99]. While the original game grew with a handful of updates, a sequel was being made, and that sequel is pretty magnificent. I give you Give It Up! 2 [Free]. (I'd have gone with something like Give It Up Again! but I digress)..

'Beat Sports' Review - Weee! Sports on the Apple TV!

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November 9th, 2015 12:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $9.99, 4 stars, Apple TV, Games, Music / Rhythm, Reviews, Sports
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I wasn’t planning on buying the fourth generation Apple TV right away. But then Guitar Hero Live [Free] happened, and I just couldn’t wait. I mean, the game is great on the iPad and iPhone, but obviously it was always meant for the living room. Imagine my disappointment, then, when I finally got Apple’s new streaming box and Guitar Hero Live wasn’t even in the App Store yet. Luckily, though, developer Harmonix (who kicked off the whole plastic instrument trend back in 2005) did have a rhythm game on the store right on launch day. It’s called Beat Sports, and while it’s no Guitar Hero or Rock Band, it’s still a pretty fun little slice of music gaming...

The very positive reception of Guitar Hero Live [Free] has been something of a surprise to all those who witnessed the fall of its predecessors and those who've had to clean cobwebs off their plastic musical instruments for the last few years. We enjoyed it a lot in our review, and overall the internet seems to have responded with an unexpected smile to the music game. Activision isn't resting on its laurels, though, and has announced today that it's adding the first of many free content drops on its Guitar Hero TV (GHTV). New music includes Fall Out Boy, Blink-182, Black Veil Brides, George Ezra and many more tracks, expanding the game's library and adding more songs for us to fail playing. According to Activision, players should expect 70 new tracks on GHTV by the end of the year, including songs from Iggy Pop, Weezer, Judas Priest, Alice in Chains, and more...

'Guitar Hero Live' Review - Better Than On Consoles?

There are two kinds of musicians in the world: those who like Guitar Hero, and those who don't. Okay, there are probably musicians who are indifferent to the whole phenomenon, but whatever. The point is, as someone who plays a variety of instruments in real life, I have my fair share of musician friends who think rocking out with plastic guitars is stupid. "Why not play real guitar?" they cry, while stroking their hipster beards and drinking PBR. Well, because real guitar isn't a game, and sometimes I just want to play a game. I unashamedly love Guitar Hero, and I was absolutely stoked when I heard there was a new one coming out, and iOS would be getting an un-neutered version. Well, after playing it for several days, I can say that not only is Guitar Hero Live [Free] indeed (nearly) identical to the console versions, but in some ways it actually might be better than the PS4 and Xbox versions. Potentially...

'Magic Flute by Mozart' Review - One Time At Bandcamp

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September 29th, 2015 12:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, Music / Rhythm, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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I first heard about Mozart's opera The Magic Flute when I was a music major in college. I remember thinking the title was sort of ridiculous, and the plot seemed equally silly. Something about a guy and his bird buddy meeting some witches or something and then rescuing a princess somewhere. And, of course, there's a magical flute. It was hard to take seriously since opera was never my thing, but reading about it on wikipedia all these years later it actually sounds kind of interesting. The main plot is supposed to be kind of light and silly, but underneath there's a subtext about religion, reason, and enlightment. Oh! And there's an iPhone game based on it now. Did I mention that part?..

'Skylanders SuperChargers', 'Guitar Hero Live', and 'Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved' All Coming to the Apple TV

Activision joined the announcement party for upcoming Apple TV games today, and it's starting to look like all the publishers want to get in on the Apple TV action. Activision also gave us our first insight into how the iPad Pro might influence game design choices in the future. The first game Activision announced is Skylanders SuperChargers, the next iteration of the company's huge moneymaker that is the Skylanders franchise. The game's starter pack, which we have already talked about, will be identical for all iOS devices...

'Gathering Sky' - They’re Flocking This Way

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September 2nd, 2015 7:40 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4 stars, Adventure, Games, iPad Games, Music / Rhythm, Reviews
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I don’t want to waste your time here, so I’m just going to come right out with it: Gathering Sky [$2.99 (HD)] by A Stranger Gravity is a game that’s probably not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, it’s barely even a “game” at all. There were long stretches during my playthrough that I didn’t even touch the screen or have any input whatsoever. It’s one of those games that’s more of an experience, maaaan. But stick with me here, ‘cause it’s actually a really good experience...

It's often said that there's a fine line between inspiration and imitation. We see both in varying degrees in the hobby of gaming. The former is without question a good thing, but even the latter can be okay depending on how closely it hews to the source. There's one more category that expression doesn't cover, however, and it's something a bit closer to plagiarism. It's a practice that is unfortunately all too familiar to mobile gaming fans in particular, and it's almost universally frowned upon. In these situations, games are basically copied one-to-one, adding nothing to the medium and depriving the original creator of their rightful reward. It's legal, as far as I can tell, particularly if you're wise enough to swap out art assets, but at least as far as I'm concerned, it's not ethically okay nor is it contributing anything positive to gaming on the whole...

SNK has had a large presence on the App Store for a number of years now, mostly thanks to the many excellent touchscreen ports of their legendary fighting games. However, they've put out some original stuff too, like Metal Slug Defense [Free] which takes the Metal Slug characters and puts them into a castle defense game. Or Beast Busters [Free / $2.99], which crosses over the on-rails gallery shooter arcade game of the same name with King of Fighters characters. Another of SNK's original mobile titles is The Rhythm of Fighters [Free], a game that tasks you with keeping the rhythm during classic SNK tunes while a massive cast of fighters duke it out based on your performance. The Rhythm of Fighters was a really novel idea for a game, and it's only barely a year old, but unfortunately SNK is yanking it off the App Store next week...

This review comes with a small caveat: you have to like the rock band Queen even a little bit to appreciate this game. Otherwise, read this review as a commentary on how a "band" iOS game should be made. And now that we are done with that, let's talk about Queen: Play the Game [$2.99], a mobile game released yesterday out of the blue. I'm quite a Queen fan ever since forever; still, I approached this game to see both what it could offer Queen fans but also how it stands as a model for licensed band games. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed playing the game, and as long as content keeps on coming its way (as the developers said it will), Queen: Play the Game will stand as a great "gameficication" of everything Queen...

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