Beat It!

from , originally released 31st December, 1969


Previews:

Beat It! Hands-On Preview and Video

Are you the type of creative, musical person who likes to design their own beats, or can pick apart the most complex beats down to their basic elements? If so, Beat It! seems to be made for you. If you have musical talent, you’ll be challenged by this unique game, where every puzzle is a beat.

Just to make it clear: this is one of the most creative game concepts we’ve seen in a long time. A music game that’s not about tapping out notes that flash onto the screen, Beat It! utilizes a sense that’s not used enough by most gamers: listening.

On each stage, a beat will loop for you three times, and then you have to carefully place on a grid where the sounds appear in order to recreate the same beat. It starts off easy, with just a four-count of bass thumps. The next stage, you’re adding clapping noises on the two and four.

Pretty soon, though, you’ll have to replicate incredibly complex combinations of sound, including cymbals, drums, and sci-fi sound effects. You’re timed on each challenge, and the goal is to recreate the sound as quickly as possible. Fortunately, you can listen to the original beat as much as you like to get it exactly right. Also, notes will sparkle when they’re in the right position.

We’ll admit, it took us some time to get the hang of this game. But once we focused in on each component of the music, instrument by instrument, and learned to train our brain to pick out particular sounds and timing, we started to get into the groove. This is one tough game, but it forces you to flex mental muscles most people will not know they had.

Beat It! is one of the most exciting new games we’ve seen from Glu, or any other company. It’s something brand new for videogames: a listening exercise that goes far beyond Rock Band or Tap Tap Revenge.

And we haven’t even covered the classy visual style. While Beat It! could work without any visual ornamentation, the backgrounds come alive as you go through each stage, adding new elements that are stuffed with charm.

The city level, for example, starts off with a single drummer on a rooftop, but grows to include a full-on parade by the end. The wacky backgrounds reminded us of Katamari Damacy, with their extravagant and bizarre humor. In addition to the city stages, you’ll find levels set in a field of bunnies, Candy Heaven, and the offices of Glu Mobile itself.

A free-play mode where you can lay down your own beats is a nice bonus, and you can unlock new types of music as you play through the game (hip hop and electronic were the two that we played in this hands-on demo). In future updates, you’ll be able to upload and download custom beats, but not in the initial release.

Beat It! is coming out around October 30, just two weeks away, for the price of $2.99. While it’s going to be extremely difficult for most players, we think this unique music game is really something special.

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Reviews:

Beat It! Review

When you stray away from all the Guitar Hero clones on the App Store, there are some unique musical experiences to be found. One of the most recent is called Beat It!, where you must listen to a piece of music and recreate the percussion through means of a sequencer. The resulting experience is immersive, even if short-lived.

An intuitive touch-based interface makes it easy to input new beats into the sequencer. Tapping and dragging on boxes fills them with the note of their respective instrument. Pressing down on an instrument allows you to mute it while you work with the rest of the song, a feature we found immensely helpful on more complicated beats. Moving between different measures is done through swiping on any part of the screen not occupied by the sequencer.

See the music, taste the rainbow.

The game is spread across five themed areas, each with its own style of music and custom drum kit. A few examples of these include hip-hop beats to bouncing rabbits and trippy off-time synths in a fantasy rendition of the Glu headquarters. Each of the areas includes roughly ten levels, and each evolves the scene in the background and the complexity of the beats.

After you complete each area, its theme and drum kit become available in free play mode. Here you can mix any combination of backgrounds and kits to create your own beats. These can be saved once you finish them, but unfortunately there is no way to share them with friends or pass the device to somebody else to see if they can recreate your beat.

Welcome to diabetic coma-land.

These drawbacks to free play mode and the short length of the main game (which comes out to about two hours, depending on your musical ability) kept this unique title from gaining our highest score. If you are the kind of person who enjoys making beats, though, then these factors may not matter once you beat the campaign.

Also, it’s important to note that Beat It! is extremely difficult to play using just the iPhone’s speakers. Therefore, we recommend you use headphones so that you don’t miss any of the low sounds. This is less of a con of the game and more of Apple’s speaker quality, but it will definitely affect how well you play.

If music creation, discovery, and wacky scenarios that hop to the beat are your fancy, then Beat It is worth checking out.