Updated: DJ Rivals Review

DJ Rivals has received a pretty big content update, but we’ve got mixed feelings about it. This update adds two new story chapters, but you have to pay for them, as well as some new music tracks and versus features.

The new chapters, 5 and 6, are expensive. They cost 50 “ice” for both, and that’s $4.99 in real-world money. They do provide new bosses and collectibles, but you can continue to level up without them. We should also note that you can no longer receive free ice for downloading apps through Tapjoy, which takes a bit of the joy out of this free app.

This update also includes 7 new music tracks, which are very much appreciated. The clips are still short, but now you’re less likely to run into repeats on your way to level 36, the new level cap.

And finally, DJ Rivals has a new versus mode. While it’s supposed to include Game Center online play, we found that this update doesn’t actually include Game Center integration. For now, all you can do is play against other DJs using Bluetooth– hardly a worldwide throwdown.

On top of this, DJ Rivals has run into an unfortunate problem of virtual currency inflation. Sometime after launch, the amount of virtual currency in the world became ridiculous. If you beat an opponent in the arena, you can expect to be rewarded with millions of dollars, enough to buy every item in the store. Becoming the house DJ of real-world establishments is now less competitive, since you’ll earn a fraction of the cash as before.

We hope that DJ Rivals is able to sort out these new bugs and diminished features. We loved the game when it first launched, but things have since gone awry. While we’re keeping the game’s 4/4 score for now, Booyah should closely regulate the game’s economy to avoid us dropping the score in the future.

One of our common complaints about free to play MMOs is that there’s usually so little actual gameplay involved. Clicking on a mission to rob a bank in Mafia Wars, for example, is nothing like robbing a real bank, and we’re speaking from experience. That’s why it’s such a pleasant surprise that Booyah’s new MMO DJ Rivals incorporates actual rhythm-based gameplay.

You begin DJ Rivals by creating your character, a funky DJ trying to stop an evil corporation from limiting creative freedom in the music industry.To advance in the game, you’ll have to battle Bland Corp’s evil drones in real-world locations populated via your device’s GPS or Wi-Fi. You can also battle other human DJs in an asynchronous online fight, so they don’t have to be online when you challenge them.

I left my turntables in San Francisco.

If you’ve played Guitar Hero or Tap Tap Revenge, you’ll immediately understand DJ Rivals’ main gameplay component– tapping and scratching to the beat. You pick a move, like crossfades or scratches, and in the battle your beats scroll from the top of the screen as a pattern. If you time your taps and flicks correctly, you’ll do more damage to your opponent.

While you’re playing out these bite-sized rhythm minigames, licensed tracks will play in the background. We really enjoyed listening to the game’s selection of music, but they do repeat fairly quickly, and are often less than 30 seconds long. We hope that Booyah continues to add more music to the game, since you’re battling most of the time.

Finders, keepers.

When you’re not battling, there’s still a lot to do. You can buy new gear, explore the game’s real-world locations, or upgrade your character. Premium in-game currency called Ice can be bought with real money, or you can earn Ice for downloading partner apps (many of which are free) through app discovery service Tapjoy. With a bit of time and effort, you can earn plenty of Ice without paying a dime.

And you’ll need all the Ice you can get your hands on. Leveling up your DJ is extremely addictive, because you’re always just a few battles away from unlocking a new move, completing a story mission, or landing your local Starbucks as a regular paying gig.

Except for the quickly repeating licensed music, we absolutely love DJ Rivals. The visual style is pronounced and appealing, and the barrier to entry is nil due to the fact that it’s a free download. You don’t even have to pay to get ahold of the premium currency if you take advantage of Tapjoy’s offers. DJ Rivals is a brilliant mash-up of MMOs and rhythm games, crossfaded with cool production values in a club with no cover charge.

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