Tag Archives: Rhythm Game

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.


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.


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.

Rock Band Reloaded Review: This Genre is About to Die

Rock Band and Guitar Hero have been duking it out for the past few years on consoles, Rock Band bringing out drums, mics, and other peripherals, with Guitar Hero following suit in Guitar Hero: World Tour.

And the battle continues on the App Store, with Rock Band Reloaded bringing the first ever voice-singing option in the App Store.  And while that’s all fine and dandy, I’m pretty sure there’s not a lot of people out there willing to sing… by themselves… playing Rock Band on their phone.  Maybe I’m making assumptions, but I for one, don’t care much for the option.

Other than that, there’s basically nothing too different about it.  They did add a new expert mode, but the game as a whole doesn’t seem to difficult to start with.


Voice-acting: It’s a new option and a good one, and although it doesn’t feel too useful to me, at least they added it.  This is one option I can see as giving Rock Band a step up from its competition if singing is your cup of tea.

Content: Guitar Hero has only six songs for $2.99, and Rock Band Reloaded is only $4.99 for 29 free songs.  There’s no comparison there, as Rock Band Reloaded clearly contains more bang for the buck.


Difficulty: I’m not a master at Rock Band or Guitar Hero, and I’m not an above-90% note hitter.  But Rock Band Reloaded makes it way too easy, as I’m able to get at least 90% of my notes hit on even the toughest songs.  And yes, this is on Expert.

Nothing really new: The note-hitting gameplay is nothing new, it feels like I’ve done it before a bajillion times, and it slowly makes me believe that this genre is slowly coming to stop in innovation.  Guitar Hero’s sliding note technique was a step up, and you could say the singing here is a step up.  But other than that, playing the guitar, drums, and bass feel all too familiar.

Facebook: This was a minor problem in the previous Rock Band, but in this one, it’s pretty major.  Every single screen is bombarded with Facebook this, Facebook that.  Post this on Facebook, compete with Facebook friends.  It does start to get annoying after a while, especially when I don’t want to have anything to do with Facebook on Rock Band Reloaded.

I feel like the last few games that I’ve played have all been lacking a step up from their previous versions, and Rock Band Reloaded feels exactly the same way.  After a few hours, I can only describe the experience as boring and repetitive.

Rock Band Reloaded was developed by EA Mobile, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $4.99, with the iPad version at $9.99.

‘Guitar Hero’ Receives Four New Song Packs

Activision has uploaded four new song packs into their wildly successful Guitar Hero, most of them bands that I actually like to listen to.  One pack also contains two free songs from Steve Ouimette.  More artists include Rise Against, Breaking Benjamin, Weezer, and Coldplay.  Here’s a full list of all the tracks:

Breaking Benjamin

  • Breath
  • Give Me A Sign
  • So Cold


  • Clocks
  • Yellow
  • Viva la Vida


  • My Name is Jonas
  • Pork and Beans
  • The Good Life

Rise Against

  • Prayer of the Refugee
  • The Good Left Undone
  • Audience of One

Each song pack costs $1.99.

Have you downloaded a Guitar Hero track?  Be sure to let us know in the comments.

‘Guitar Hero’ Coming to iPhone

There’s really no reason why Guitar Hero wouldn’t come out for the iPhone, as it has been available on almost every single handset known to man (well, the recent ones anyways).  I, for one, am a HUGE fan of the game ever since I purchased Guitar Hero III for the Xbox 360.

I literally played Guitar Hero III for hours on my console, playing so much that my eyes started to hurt.  Of course, others played so much that they somehow scored over a million points on expert on one of the hardest Guitar Hero songs of all time: Through the Fire and the Flames by Dragonforce.

According to Gamespot, Guitar Hero is just another one of their brands that they are planning to expand on the iPhone:

Elsewhere in the call, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said the publisher would be bringing Guitar Hero to the iPhone, as part of the company’s ongoing plan to “selectively expand brands” to Apple’s handheld.

We’ll have more news as they become available.

Hip Hop All Star Review: Frick, Frick, Fresh

I-Play released Hip Hop All Star for the iPhone, a rhythm game in where you play as the DJ.  It’s a lot more like Activision’s DJ Hero, and it’s a different type of rhythm game we’ve never seen before.  Sure we’ve seen this attempted and failed by Gameloft’s DJ Mix Tour, and Hip Hop All Star seems to improve on that idea to create quite an experience.


Graphics: The graphics for this game are quite nicely done, and I couldn’t help but feel the thoroughness in design.  The whole “gangster/hip hop” theme was well implemented into the game, and the overall look was well-designed.  The button design could have been a little bit better, but overall a well-laid out game.

Song Selection: The game features many songs to chose from, and while I’m not a hip hop fan myself, the song selection was pretty extensive.  Hip hop fans should be able to headbang to these rhythmic songs, and while there isn’t T-Pain or Taylor Swift on here, it should be enough for casual fans.

Scratch Mode: Now this is really cool.  Sure it’s a bit random, and all you have to really do is scratch as fast as you can, but it sure is a lot better than just the average 8X multiplier.  Hip Hop All Star did a great job adding a few twists in here and there, and scratch mode just seems to be one of them.  It’s really nice to see I-Play taking a different route for DJ and rhythm games.


Uhh… What?: While you’re playing the song, it’s really hard to hear the song itself.  You’ll be listening to the crowd cheering and your CD scratching, but the song itself is somewhat hard to hear.  It seems to sound more droned out than anything, and while it’s not too soft, it’s not perfect.  It would have been nice to turn up the song volume just a tad bit.

A Little Easy: Being a Guitar Hero fan myself, rhythm games on the iPhone have not proven to be very challenging (except for BeatRider Touch).  Hip Hop All Star just happens to fall into the 95% of iPhone rhythm games that aren’t challenging enough, and the pacing was also a little slow.  Adding a hard level of difficulty or something similar would have been a nice improvement to this game.

Hip Hop All Star sure is fresh, and if you’re a hip hop fan at all, you should definitely check this one out.  While it does have its flaws, the overall game was pretty solid.  I’m not a big hip hop fan myself, but Hip Hop All Star surprisingly dragged me into its gameplay.  The game itself was a little bit easy, but casual gamers should feel at home with this solid DJ rhythm game.


Hip Hop All Star was developed by I-Play, and I played through version 1.0 on my 1st generation iPhone.  The price is $2.99.