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Beat It! (iPhone)

Review by Ben Briggs, December 09, 2009

iPhone integration (About)
  • Save state: No
  • iPod music: No
  • Status bar: No
  • Version: 1.0
  • Price as reviewed: £1.79
  • by Glu

Beat It! is an interesting combination between a 16 step sequencer and games such as 8 Track Mind where you have to recreate the song played out for you. Where it differs from that title however is that you actually have to mimic the exact timing of the beats on the sequencer.

Musicians are going to love this one. Even people who aren’t at all competent with a sequencer will be slowly eased into the game with the first world’s easy house beats to recreate. And if you get completely stuck then you can always create your own beats in the free play mode that allows you to save your own tracks to replay them any time you like–what you can’t currently do is share them with your friends or indeed create a track and get a friend to recreate it. Still, this mode allows you to figure out the intricacies of the sequencer so that you know what you’re doing in the main mode.

You’re going to need headphones for this game, as the speaker included with the iPod touch isn’t enough to produce some of the sonic differences between similar instruments. The standard Apple headphones that come bundled with your device will suffice, but a true audiophile will have upgraded from those already to a more robust set.

The beats themselves range from very easy to rather challenging, especially once the game starts throwing multiple bar loops at you. What is nice is that some loops have a track filled in for you at the beginning—this does save valuable time, especially if all that differs from that beat to the next is a slight rhythm variation. In addition, you may get a few power ups along the way—for example one of them destroys unused areas of the board to help you pinpoint where exactly you need to place the instrument hits.

As you complete each loop and move onto the next, something will happen in the background. The variety of these is stunning, and makes you want to play through to see what appears next. One of the negatives is that you won’t have time to take it all in before the grid is superimposed over the screen, and as you’re concentrating on getting the beat perfect in the fastest time possible what goes on in the background is wasted somewhat. However what it does provide is a wonderful pixel wash of colour and a general mood that accompanies the beats you create.

Beat It! is not a long game, and it only provides you with 5 worlds. The definition of a video game is a little stretched here too, even though you are playing for points it does simply boil down to some gorgeous pixel art and a step sequencer. Both of these things are nothing new, but together they make a great experience that is fun to play through even though the gameplay is very untraditional. Again, it is more about the experience than anything else, and for £1.79 it is worth grabbing for the sheer joy of making your own beats and the crazy pixel goings-on in the background.

Grade: B, Great

Crazy pixel art meshed with a step sequencer creates an untraditional game that also happens to be very rewarding.

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