Category Archives: Music / Rhythm

'DropMix' Review - Music and Cards Make for An Awesome Board Game

With the physical instruments scene long past peak popularity, the folks over at Harmonix, in conjunction with Hasbro, have moved on to something that’s quite a bit different from the Boston developer’s previous games. DropMix [Free] is a physical board game that’s a delightful mix of approachable card-based gameplay combined with amazing music the Harmonix pedigree. Sure, the gameplay is a little basic, and like music games some of your enjoyment is based on your love of the music included, but damn if it isn’t simply fun to play with other people...

TGS 2017: Hands-On with 'Rhythm Doctor', a 'Rhythm Heaven'-Inspired Music Game

To be frank, I'm surprised that there aren't more clones of Nintendo's Rhythm Heaven out there. Especially on mobile devices, where the touch-friendly controls would be right at home. But when you really think about it, as simple as those games appear to be in some ways, they're probably really tough to pull off. Every once in a while, we do see games that try to channel its spirit, even if they're not exactly the same thing. Such is Rhythm Doctor, an upcoming release from 7th Beat Games. I got to give the game a try at the Tokyo Game Show and was even able to grab a video of one of the hardest stages...




Classic Reload: 'Beat Sneak Bandit'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the regular feature where we time our walk to the tick of the clock. In each installment of this series, we take a look at a game from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall library, and to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. Your only guide on this journey is me, an observer from your own time, taking the form of a hologram that only you can see and hear. I try to pick a balanced selection of games, but if you have something you really want to see, don't be shy! You can leave a comment below with suggestions and I'll add them to the master list for future consideration. The schedule is done quite far in advance, so you might not see them soon, but it never hurts to try...

As much as the impending 32-bit Appocalypse has been a time for somber reflection on some of the best mobile games that will be rendered unplayable come iOS 11, it has also been encouraging to see how many developers are taking up the formidable and definitely not cost-effective task of updating their titles to be 64-bit compatible. Beloved creative geniuses Simogo are one such example, as the Swedish developer underlined earlier this year how all of their games would eventually receive an update that would modernise them for iOS 11. Today, Simogo's incredibly innovative and infection rhythm puzzle release Beat Sneak Bandit [$2.99] joins fan favourites Kosmo Spin [$2.99] and Bumpy Road [$2.99], as the game has not only been updated with 64-bit compatibility, but also has received a full screen support for gamers on an iPhone 5 or above...

'Monomals' Is a Graphically Stunning Music Game From the Creators of 'Heroki', Launching Next Year

I've been a staunch advocate of the old adage 'don't judge a book by its cover' for a long time, and I've found that those horribly clichéd words of advice have been faithful for the vast majority of video games I've played. However, does that stop me getting ridiculously excited over a mere teaser trailer for the upcoming Monomals? The answer is an emphatic 'no chance - give me the game now!'. From developers Picomy, who were responsible for Heroki [$4.99] and played a part in the upcoming Sonic Mania console release, Monomals is touted as a music game with some eccentric fishing elements, which sounds like a definitively killer combo. With a vibrant, colourful and downright stunning graphical design in the teasers Picomy have shared, Monomals looks to be one of the most exciting upcoming iOS releases, and has left me counting off the days until it launches sometime in 2018...

The Nintendo Switch is less than a week away now, and excitement for Nintendo's eccentric new console/handheld hybrid is at an all time high. Whilst the fervent anticipation for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has understandably taken the spotlight in recent days, many have been questioning the third party support for the Switch, with a specific emphasis on whether the capacitive touch screen controls on the device will enable titles from the App Store to make the, well, switch over to this new console. While there has yet to be a concrete answer to the breadth of support we can expect on the Switch, recent developments suggest that a Switch eShop/iOS App Store symbiosis isn't as far fetched as one might expect. Today, VOEZ [Free] has been announced for the Nintendo Switch, and marks the first upcoming title for the new console that can only be played in the handheld configuration...

'Tappy Cat - Musical Kitty Arcade' Review - This Rhythm Game is the Cat’s Meow

Rhythm games and kitties are two of my biggest loves in life. So it should come as no surprise that when Tappy Cat - Musical Kitty Arcade [Free] released recently I hurriedly downloaded it to see how these two things would mesh together. What I didn’t expect was one of the best rhythm games that I’ve played in a long while. With an incredibly tough (but very rewarding) difficulty curve, and an amazing array of cats to unlock, Tappy Cat should be on the radar for any rhythm fan. ..

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 [Free] 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 [$0.99], 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:..

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