LightStixx’s Review: PSP Beats

BeatsLightStixx’s review for PSP game: Beats

Release date: 6 Dec 2007 (US Release)

Price: SGD 8.30 from Playstation Store

Sales: Unavailable

Platform: Playstation Portable

IGN Review Score: 7.0

I’m on a roll!! TWO reviews in one day!! I should slow down…

My scores:

Gameplay: 8.0
Story: NA
Fun-level: 8.0
Graphics: 7.0
Music: NA
Replayability: 10.0
Online quality: NA
Overall score: 8.0

Let’s break this down.

Introduction

Beats is a new production for the PSP via the Playstation Store. It’s had a bit of hype before its release because it promises to allow you to play your own mp3s as a game. Not only did they succeed, I think they actually did quite well.

Story

You’re the hero of this game, you’re supposed to save the world from an alien race that explode upon hearing music.

No, I was kidding. There’s no storyline whatsoever.

Gameplay

Well, first things first, you need to upload mp3s into your memory stick. You need not place them in any special folder, just chuck them in the usual spot. The game would then detect whatever songs you have in your memory stick, sweet eh? Something to note, it seems that PSP phat cannot receive files with Chinese filenames, but PSP slim is ok. Hope someone can confirm this.

This game has got 4 difficulty levels, from Novice to Extreme. Novice is ridiculously easy (there’s only one centre button, meaning you can play with one hand), while Extreme is fun according to my GF. I personally prefer Hard mode, it’s less stressful and more enjoyable. It also features multiple modes, including Music Challenge (normal mode) and Jamming (sort of composing your own music using the preset beats). Importantly, there’s also a multiplayer mode but only jamming is available.

Gameplay for Music Challenge is basically pressing the shape buttons in accordance to the time when the symbol hits the centre buttons. The shape symbols move at constant speed towards the centre buttons, making it easily predictable and they allow great leeway for poor timing. You’d select one of the three centre buttons by pressing Left or Right on the D-pad. Releasing the D-pad selects the centre button. With such a gameplay, it’s only possible to hit one button at any instant, which makes it easier to manage than other beat games such as DJ Portable Max. Along the way, you’d find glowing symbols which allow you to charge your “Overdrive” meter. Triggering Overdrive would turn your background psychedelic and your symbols will not run from all over the place, so it takes some concentration to make sure you get this part right. As you’d guess, overdrive triggers an additional x2 score multiplier on top of your current multiplier (which is increased every time you hit a right beat). It’s actually quite fun, so take a look at the video at the end of this section for a clearer idea.

This game also features customizeable backgrounds and themes for the game. Each theme has a set of background music, which could be used to compliment your favourite music genre. Of course, there’s no requirement to do so, it just makes me feel happy that I can do that.

Beats

Customizeable background and themes

During the gameplay, I found that you’re able to pause the game and resume at the exact same moment. This is a great feature compared to Patapon (where Start wouldn’t pause the game, instead they’d ask if you wanna head back to town). So you’re able to continue where you left off, but if the PSP enters sleep mode while in the paused screen then the game is lost. This is similar to the PSP’s mp3 capability, where the song would start from the beginning once it enters sleep mode.

I’ve tried a wide variety of songs on this game, from Classical (Tchaikovski’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy) to Rock & Roll (Guns & Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle). I even tried “Mr Brown’s Too Fast Too Furious” podcast! Nothing seems to faze this game, in fact it performed exceedingly well for a music based game. One thing to note is, turn up the volume. I played “Canon in D Major” and spent the first half doing nothing simply because the sound was too soft. So if you’re able to pump up the volume by some audio editor means, please do so. But “Canon in D Major” wouldn’t be extremely fun, I’d prefer “Sexy Back”.

Gameplay video courtesy of Delriach

Fun Factor

Well, this game is not bad in the fun department. Doing well enough to earn it some regular gameplay on my long commutes. The important part is the music, rather than the fun. But I’d rather play a game to the music, than sleep listening to music. Do note that since the generation of symbols is based on each song, so certain songs are more fun than others.

Graphics & Music

Graphics wise, the title is poor. The gameplay screen doesn’t maximise the resolution available on the PSP. However, the overall look of this game is still pleasing to the eye and definitely passable.

Beats

Overdrive – Psychedelic colours

Music is your own, so how? I shan’t really give a score for this. Lol.

Minigames & Unlockables

No minigames, no unlockables. Just simple plain Beats.

Replayability

Unlimited replayability when you add songs to your repertoire once in a while. Not only that, you’d be fine playing the same song over again as the keys generated are different for each time!

Online Play

Online play is limited to Jamming mode, Music Challenge is not available. However, I never really enjoyed Jamming so it’s enjoyment is quite limited in this sense.

What I like

  • Simple & unique gameplay

  • Able to play own music

  • Able to pause and resume from the same point

  • Varying difficulty levels for each preference

What I don’t like

  • Songs that are too soft cannot register

  • Can’t really get the point of Jamming

  • Poor multiplayer experience

Overall

In short, Beats is an overall enjoyable game even if you only make use of its Music Challenge mode. If you enjoyed games like DJ Max Portable and Patapon, you’d probably enjoy this too.

Legal Stuff

Pictures from IGN.com
Video from www.youtube.com, property of Delriach

Cheers,
LightStixx

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