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Pulse: Volume One Review: Interesting Concept, But Fairly Raw Gameplay

Rhythm games on the App Store have all, for the most part, been exactly the same.  Rock Band Reloaded brought some interest with the whole vocal mode, and Guitar Hero implemented that interesting sliding mechanism.  But other than that, all of them have been very similar to the likes of Tap Tap Revenge: tap the dots as they roll down the screen.

Pulse takes all of that and changes everything.

In the center of the circles is a pulse that slowly moves from the inner circle to the outer, and you have to tap the dot once the “pulse” nears said dot.  The rhythm aspect of the game is surprisingly well done, and the dots seem to go right along with the song.

And while the concept is very interesting and a breath of fresh air, there are a lot of problems with Pulse that prevent it from being the greatest rhythm game out there.

For one, it’s extremely repetitive.  I can’t play this game for more than 20 minutes in a sitting, and generally, I can’t play more than two songs in a row.  And other than songs and playing along to some sort of campaign mode, there’s really nothing to play for.  No achievements, no leaderboards, no “star” system that rates your performance… the list goes on.

It looks pretty and all, but it’s the insides that count.

Likes

Graphics/UI: Pulse has an extremely clean UI that’s very appealing and very “indie”-like.  The graphics are also very clean and fits well with the theme; overall, I thought they (as in the developers) did a great job with the design.

Unique: I always love it when I see something unique in the App Store, and I love it even more that it’s a rhythm game.  In my mind, making a “unique” rhythm game is an extremely tough thing to do, what, with big monsters such as EA and Activision releasing their own, previously successful games onto the App Store.  If I rated Pulse based solely on uniqueness, it would be ranked in my top 5.

Dislikes

Repetitive: The songs are extremely repetitive, and with no real motive, you’re just playing for the sake of playing.  No achievements, no leaderboards, no “star” system (like I mentioned before)… it’s just extremely difficult to keep playing this game.  I’d rather be playing Guitar Hero and earning some stars while ranking high on the online leaderboards than play Pulse and receive no real reward for playing.

Difficulty: The songs get pretty difficult pretty fast, and while I’ve been able to play through expert on Guitar Hero with 5-star ratings, Pulse’s first song had me spinning my eyeballs and slightly panicking due to the sheer speed of the game.  And that’s only the first song; the songs following that were extremely difficult to follow, and I haven’t been able to receive more than a 70% on any of them.  For those that are interested in entering the rhythm genre, Pulse is, by far, not the best place to start.

I love Pulse: Volume One for one reason, and that’s because it’s unique.  Other than that, this is just another game with no real motive in playing, and I really don’t have an urge to play.  It needs a lot of improvements but has a lot of potential; hopefully the developers will improve upon it with an update or two because it would be quite saddening to see this concept go to waste.

Pulse: Volume One was developed by Cipher Prime Studios, and I played through version 1.1 on my iPad 2.  The price is $4.99.




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