Category Archives: Music / Rhythm

While the music/rhythm genre has become somewhat stagnant on consoles, it’s been alive and well on mobile with ports of classics along with new twists to enjoy. Still, it’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed a tried and true classic take on the rhythm genre. Pianista [Free] is an excellent new title that offers that exact experience with the added benefit of a treasure trove of classical music. In fact, when you combine the well-designed rhythm system with an interesting freemium system, there’s really no reason not to at least check it out...

A few days ago, I wrote about the upcoming Pianista [Free], the Guitar Hero-like rhythm game that has you playing classical music instead of rock. Well, the game is now available worldwide, so if classical music is your thing, jump on it. Pianista can be played with two thumbs - so no weird finger gymnastics - and you hit the notes as they roll your way. You have the usual note sustain and finger dragging to quickly get to the notes, and every time you miss a note, your life gauge decreases. Miss enough notes, and you die poor in an attic or basement like some of the classical music composers...




When Lumines Puzzle & Music [$2.99] launched in September, we were big fans - the rhythm-centric block puzzler was a fitting tribute to the original PSP game that won over so many gamers back in 2004, while still being relevant in 2016 with new modern developments that the series had picked up over its existence. If there was one flaw to Lumines Puzzle & Music, however, it'd be that with only a limited number of game modes and music tracks, there wasn't a whole lot to entice players who had played through all the options that the latest title had to offer. However, even more content is set to roll out for Lumines Puzzle & Music over the next week - today, an album pack from the hit Japanese pop band Sekai no Owari has been made available to download, and on 21 November a special set of tracks from the psychedelic cult rail shooter Rez is also to be rolled out for the mobile version of Lumines...

Rhythm games tend to have a way of reinvigorating even the most stale genres, as the music actually interacting with the gameplay rather than being passive in the background adds a whole new element of immersion - let alone when you're able to choose what tracks are played. Lost in Harmony [$3.99] was the iteration of this formula that took the runner mechanics that have been done to death on mobile devices, and turned the levels into dynamic and emotive experience that we loved in our review back in January. Today, Lost in Harmony has been put on sale for absolutely nothing, so any fans looking for something which isn't your typical runner game should definitely skate down to the App Store and try the unique amalgamation of ideas that developer Digixart Entertainment was so successful at combining for the price of absolutely nothing...

I've never been a massive fan of games in the clicker genre, as apart from a few exceptions, I tend to lose interest over time as it doesn't really feel like I'm doing anything. That being said, one of the most prominent exceptions to this rule was Groove Planet [Free], which managed to reinvigorate this relatively stale genre with a rhythm game element, in that you had to tap along to either the game's excellent soundtrack or your own songs to progress. While, at its heart, this wasn't too much of a leap away from the typical gameplay of similar titles, this extra element just made it seem so much more involved, which is why Groove Planet was our Game of the Week in December of last year. Today, an update for Groove Planet has been released with even more content to distinguish itself from other clicker games, such as boss battles, new song, and much more...

Remember Rock Band for iOS, or maybe its successor Rock Band Reloaded? Honestly, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, considering both games were given the EA axe over four years ago. It really was a shame as they were pretty decent rhythm games at the time...

A very interesting looking game released under the radar this week, and although it doesn't look like my type of game personally, the trailer was cool enough I thought it was worth sharing. In fact, it looks totally like a Shaun Musgrave kind of game, but since it's about 3am in Japan right now and Shaun is fast asleep (at least you better be, young man!) we'll have to wait a while to see what Mr. Weird Game Expert thinks of this one. Anyway, the game is called iRIUM [Free] and it's a rhythm game blended with RPG elements and a really fetching art style. Check out the trailer...

Audiosurf was the very first PC game I ever owned, and it still holds up as well now as it did back in 2008. Having a game that turned my obscure punk music into playable tracks was revolutionary, and ever since the App Store launched, I have been looking for a similar alternative to play on the go. Riddim Ribbon, from the makers of App Store relic Tap Tap Revenge, was the only one that got close, yet the restriction of only a few R&B tracks lessened the experience for myself personally. An Audiosurf game was also announced in 2012, but unfortunately never came to fruition. 7 long years later, Riff Racer [$1.99], from developers FOAM Entertainment, has not only filled this void but utterly smashed my expectations, because as well as including the musically-generated tracks to follow, they have also turned the Audiosurf formula into a complete stunt racing title, which looks as unfathomably awesome as it sounds...

'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 [$9.99] 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 EST 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 EST 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...

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