Tag Archives: Rhythm

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.

Likes:

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.

Dislikes:

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.

BREAKING NEWS: Disney Acquires Tapulous

Hmmm… didn’t see this one coming.  Tapulous, the developer of the mostly despised rhythm game series Tap Tap Revenge, have been bought out by Disney for an undisclosed price (so far).  I personally didn’t enjoy much of their rhythm games, but almost all of them have soared to the #1 free spot within a matter of hours.

Along with the Tap Tap Revenge series, they have released the likes of Riddim Ribbon, which was suppose to augment an Audiosurf type of gameplay.  With that said, here’s the pecking order:

Founders Bart Decrem and Andrew Lacy will become Senior Vice Presidents, reporting directly to Steve Wadsworth, President of Disney Interactive (Mashable).

This is definitely some large news though, as it seems like Disney is taking large steps to get into the gaming market.  They’ve already released Jelly Car 2 along with Breakspin, both of which were actual games that have nothing to do with movies or TV shows.

We’re looking forward to what this buyout means, and hopefully Disney will make Tapulous produce some better rhythm games.

[via Mashable]

Riddim Ribbon Review: I Gotta Feeling

I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night.  Well too bad Riddim Ribbon, you just crashed my hopes.  I was hoping for a good game, a relaxing rhythm game, but alas, that seems to not be the case.  Unfortunately, following the hype of Riddim Ribbon, Tapulous has failed to deliver once again.

Tapulous seems to have this track record of releasing unfinished games, then updating them almost immediately once it hits the App Store.  This has happened with the once buggy Tap Tap Revenge 2 and the laggy Tap Tap Revenge 3, all of which were fixed within 3 or 4 updates.

Sadly, Riddim Ribbon goes right along with Tapulous’s reputation, offering poor controls along with poor music choice.  But then again, it’s all about the money these days right?

Likes

Visuals: You have to give credit where credit is due: visuals are superb.  The vibrant backgrounds were very appealing, and this is definitely one of the best-looking rhythm games on the App Store.  The user interface is also very clean and very well-laid out, making for an overall good looking game.  The colors are vibrant and active, creating a very upbeat atmosphere.

Unique: There’s nothing like it in the App Store thus far.  Sure there is Rhythm Racer, but that doesn’t exactly come close to the quality of Riddim Ribbon.  We’ll have to wait until a good AudioSurfer clone appears, but Riddim Ribbon is definitely unique in the App Store.

Dislikes

Difficulty: I swear, some Tapulous updates claim to do things that really don’t happen.  The game is punishingly difficult, and one missed jump means game over.  Even when you’re so close to the finish line, one missed jump means the end.  I wish there were some life system in which you have two or three tries to finish the level.  The songs being long doesn’t help either, which means even more of a chance to become frustrated with losing.

Controls: Controls still suck.  It’s almost as if the accelerometer refuses to respond, and it’s so choppy that it’s hard to believe that Tapulous actually tested the game.  If I was a beta tester for this game, I would have noticed right off the bat on how horrible the controls are.  Sensitivity options don’t seem to help much, and the rolling ball moves so… un-smoothly that nothing feels natural at all.  Accelerometer controls still need a lot of work and are far from being perfect.

Song Selection: Now this is just sad.  What are there, three songs?  Why don’t you go cash out a couple more bucks and buy Rock Band; now that is a true rhythm game.  The song selection for Riddim Ribbon is so poor right now, and while I’m not sure about them adding free songs, I’m so far disappointed.  Sure they have some good songs such as I Gotta Feeling and Boom Boom Pow, but that’s it.  No substance at all.

Riddim Ribbon is just an attempt to make money with no real substance to back it up.  I’m heartily disappointed with Tapulous’s release of Riddim Ribbon, and it really shows how lethargic some large companies can really get.  Heck, if Gameloft was like this, the App Store wouldn’t be where it is today.  Tapulous, freaking wake up.  This isn’t the first day of the App Store when crashes were common in games and controls were wonky; this is almost year 2 of the App Store.

Riddim Ribbon was developed by Tapulous, and I played through version 1.0.3 on my iPhone 3GS.  The price is $2.99.


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.

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