Tag Archives: Music

Beat Hazard Ultra – Play Your Music And Have A Blast Too

Beat Hazard Ultra by Cold Beam Games is an auditory and visually stunning experience.  You fly a ship in a confined area destroying asteroids and ships while gathering powerups to make the music louder and your vessel stronger.  Oh yeah—and all of this is generated by your music, or the music of one of the available Internet radio stations.

Beat Hazard Ultra analyzes the music from your iDevice library to create a playing experience that corresponds to the peaks of your chosen song, and this works incredibly well.  The visualizer in the background gains intensity as your song does.  Then more enemies spawn, and the screen goes crazy!  It’s frantic, hectic fun.  I’ve played music from “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys, to “The Seed (2.0)” by The Roots, and every song has proven to be different in terms of what the game sends your way.  And all of them have been enjoyable to play this way—there rarely is a complete lull in action, the game creates a challenging progression of enemies for each song.

The audio is clearly awesome, but how are the controls?  They’re amazing, because they’re very customizable.  You can play it as a dual-stick shooter, or use one stick, and choose between floating and fixed, as well as change the size.  All you need to do is try a few things and one of the options will work out perfectly.  Honestly, the controls feel as responsive to me as they do when I play the computer version using my gamepad or keyboard and mouse.

The game has a few modes: standard, survival, boss rush, and chill out.  They’re all pretty self-explanatory, and all very fun.  If you play well you are rewarded with points to spend on perks that can alter your game and customize it to fit your needs.  If you die a lot, you can purchase a perk that gives you two extra lives.


Graphics: These are fun and exciting.  The visualizations that take place in the background based on your music make the gameplay more exciting, and are just plain cool to watch.  The ships and asteroids are all very well designed.

Controls: Completely customizable to your needs.  What more could you ask for?

Concept: The overall experience of this game is awesome.  Being able to play your music is incredible—because you can choose songs you like and then add another element of fun.

Modes and Perks: The standard mode is enough, but the other modes create more depth, as do the perks.


Radio Stations Available: This is a stretch, I truly don’t dislike anything about the game, because they have is good, but more customizable experiences here could be nice.

Beat Hazard Ultra has been flawlessly ported to the iDevices.  The core gameplay is still a blast, and the visualizations are phenomenal.  What surprised me are the controls—they work perfectly once you find what works for you.  Definitely a “Must Have,” and I whole-heartedly recommend picking it up.

Beat Hazard Ultra was developed by Cold Beam Games, and I played through version 1.4 on my iPod Touch 3G.  The current price is $1.99.

Thumpies Review: A Thumpin’ Good Time

Combining The Muppet Show’s zaniness with a Where the Wild Things Are aesthetic, Big Blue Bubble’s Thumpies is one giddy beast of a rhythm game.

The thumpies themselves are wild things, round and bodiless and quite crazy looking. They come in a variety of appearances, and unlocking new thumpies is all a part of the fun.

The gameplay focuses on rhythm and the building of beats. Each stage tasks you to lay down tracks for a loop which gradually builds over time as you add new parts. Parts often include percussion, a bass line, and an array of unusual grunts and sound effects that help to characterize the game’s off-beat stylings.

Players are presented with an environment containing a number of contact points. Thumpies soon begin to fall from the sky, “thumping” on contact points and producing a sound. As the thumpies rebound from one contact point to the next, players must time taps with the thumpies’ impacts to build the song. Successfully building the rhythm fills a gauge, and when that gauge is full the track is added to the loop and the next track begins.

Throughout each stage, butterflies will flit onto the screen. Tapping these butterflies collects them, and collecting butterflies unlocks new thumpies to play with. Collecting butterflies while attempting to keep the rhythm can often be challenging, but becomes further complicated by your thumpies eating the butterflies whenever they come into contact. And so the trick is to keep the rhythm and to capture the butterfly before it escapes or becomes thumpie chow.


David Kerr’s soundtrack is great fun. It perfectly suits the tone and off-the-wall character of the game, and succeeds in being both incredibly funky and totally unique.

The artwork is also fantastic, featuring vibrant colors and outlandish designs. The environments seem ripped straight out of storybooks, and the thumpies are undeniably cool and just a little bit creepy, but in a fun way.

Thumpies’ combination of music, artwork and characterization is simply brilliant. I could totally imagine this as an episode of The Muppet Show, with Jim Henson’s oddball creatures pounding out wonky rhythms in the forest by bouncing their heads … In fact, he did something very similar in the film Labyrinth, and parallels could definitely be drawn between episodes of Fraggle Rock and several Muppet sketches.


Sadly, the game is not without its flaws. The music often produces an audible glitch when it loops. While some may count this a minor annoyance, I find it quite distracting and the glitch has many times thrown off my rhythm and caused me to err. Also, while the loops are extremely funky and cool, they are also rather short and repetitive. I would probably enjoy Thumpies a good deal more if the loops were at some point combined into a larger, multipart composition.

Such quibbles aside, Thumpies is a roaring good time and well worth checking out. The overall presentation is supercool, with sweet grooves and freakish critters. While the game starts out fairly easy, stages quickly begin to demand greater feats of hand-eye coordination. Unlocking new thumpies is gobs of fun as well.

Thumpies is developed by Big Blue Bubble. Reviewed at version 1.3 on an iPhone 4. App Store Link.

AmpliTube iRig- A Portable Effects Pedal

The other day I was searching for third party attachments for the iPod Touch/iPhone related to music (as I am an avid musician), and I came across something that made me jump with excitement.  The company IK Multimedia is developing an extremely portable effects board/collection of pedals.  And it’s going to be usable through a phone, with output to either headphones or an amp, if one gets the correct cable.

The main intention is to plug in your guitar or bass to it, which I plan on doing when I get my hands on it, but I also believe it will work really well with my electric violin and synthesizer.  Although the price for the hookup is $39.99 and may seem kind of steep, each pedal on its own would cost at least that much.  Chorus, Phazer, Delay, Wah, and Overdrive are some examples of the pedal effects software included in the full edition of the app ($20), but there will also be a light version for $2.99 and a free version.  Each version will allow for the purchase of more cabinets/stompboxes through DLC.  There are also 32 presets in which you can save your specific combinations of sounds.  Pretty sweet.

The AmpliTube iRig is a really unique and cool idea for any guitarist or bassist seeking to add lots of super portable options to their sound for an affordable amount of money.  We will be reviewing it upon release, so be looking for that in the next month or so.  I certainly can’t wait to try it out!

To view the trailer for the AmpliTube iRig click HERE

To view the full press release click HERE, click “Press Releases”, and then “IK Announces AmpliTube iRig.”

Rock Band On Sale this Weekend Only

With Rock Band dominating the app store charts in both the top sales and top grossing categories, this comes as a surprise.  EA Mobile has dropped the price of Rock Band to $6.99 for this weekend only.  This comes down from the original premium price of $9.99.

Impressions from users after spending some time with the game have been positive.  A common complaint that almost everyone shared is the initial price at $9.99, but this sale might just be putting Rock Band in the sweet spot.  If you’re a fan of Rock Band for the consoles, I can safely say you’ll really enjoy this release.

Rock Band Available Now for $9.99

EA Mobile’s Rock Band has just gone live for $9.99.  The game launches with twenty tracks, and five packs of two songs each to get as additional DLC for $0.99 each.  Rock Band features up to four player multiplayer over Bluetooth, but no online multiplayer.  The game is fairly large at 158mb in size.  You can play each track as any of the four parts of the band you’d like: vocals, drums, guitar, or bass, which will be familiar to those that have played the console versions.

Here’s a look at what songs are included:

  • 30 Seconds to Mars – “Attack”
  • AFI – “Girls Not Grey”
  • All American Rejects – “Move Along”
  • Beastie Boys – “Sabotage”
  • Blink 182 – “All the Small Things”
  • Blondie – “Hanging on the Telephone”
  • Foo Fighters – “Learn to Fly”
  • Foo Fighters – “Everlong”
  • George Thorogood and the Destroyers – “Bad to the Bone”
  • Jethro Tull – “Hymn 43″
  • Joan Jett – “Bad Reputation”
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Simple Man”
  • Motörhead – “Ace of Spades”
  • Rise Against – “Give It All”
  • Silversun Pickups – “Lazy Eye”
  • Steve Miller Band – “Take the Money and Run”
  • The Pixies – “Debaser”
  • The Presidents of the United States of America – “Ladybug”
  • The Go Go’s – “We Got The Beat”
  • Smashing Pumpkins – “Cherub Rock”
And if you’re springing for the DLC…
  • Pack 1: 30 Seconds to Mars – “The Kill”, OK Go – “Here It Goes Again”
  • Pack 2: Angels and Airwaves – “It Hurts”, Foo Fighters – “This Is A Call”
  • Pack 3: Smashing Pumpkins – “Today”, Smashing Pumpkins – “Zero”
  • Pack 4: James Gang – “Funk #49”, Lenny Kravitz – “Let Love Rule”
  • Pack 5: Devo – “Girl U Want”, Social Distortion – “I Was Wrong”

Watch out for our full review shortly.  In the meantime, check out Rock Band on the app store.