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), 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.