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.