Welcome to the Neon Future
What happens when you pack Tron, Beat Saber and Guitar Hero into a tiny mobile package? You end up with developer Studd Games’ bright neon electronic dance music (EDM) rhythm game Beat Battle. Jam out to classic EDM tracks while soaring through a colorfully glowing course, smashing boxes to the beat. Hope you have your glowsticks ready.
Some Chords, Shapes and Beats
Tune in to Beat Battle and you’ll see a selection of songs in the main menu. Tap them to jump right into the music. But don’t worry about getting caught off guard by an abrupt start. The level won’t begin until you slide your finger across the bottom of the screen. Once you’ve done that, it’s rave time. Much like Guitar Hero, the shapes representing notes and beats scroll toward you on glowing lines.
Drag your finger to guide your hoverboard-surfing character to strike the shapes as they approach. He’s dramatic, aggressive and came prepared with boxing gloves. So all you need to do is steer. Each time you hit a note, the shape will explode. They’ll change colors in sync with the glowing background, so they’re always easy to see. But watch out for the red viruses. Touch one of those and it’s game over and you’ll be stuck watching lengthy ads.
The Best of Monstercat
There’s nothing quite like a firm smack in the face from good old nostalgia. When I saw the playlist for the game, I was overwhelmed by a flood of memories and warm fuzzy feelings. Beat Battle is like an exclusive playlist of top EDM tracks by artists of the Monstercat label from 2012-2014. It’s a great mix of heavy synths, fat bass drops, catchy melodies and old-school video game-style jazz chords.
You’ll hear tracks from classic Monstercat artists like Noisestorm, Slips and Slurs, Tokyo Machine, Pegboard Nerds, and more. Personally, I would’ve loved to see Grabbitz and Madeon in there as well. It’s not like the developers at Studd Games ran out of space for additional artists either. The biggest letdown of the game is the fact that there are only 14 songs. So it takes scarcely half an hour to complete the game as each level is only a minute or so of each song.
Errors in My Bread
Don’t leave your trusty Tron-looking character stuck with lame boxing gloves. A true futuristic rave surfer needs a proper weapon. When you complete a level, you earn gems to buy weapons in the main menu. Trade those gloves for a lightsaber, a giant axe or sword, or maybe some glowing fist weapons. They don’t change anything other than the appearance of your character. But I mean, come on. Who doesn’t want to look like the Halo 4 Didact wielding neon claws like a World of Warcraft shaman?
Despite straightforward and intuitive controls, the gameplay is just too easy. There’s virtually no difference in difficulty between songs and no way to adjust the difficulty. You can swap between first and third-person camera positions, but third-person is smoother. First-person makes everything look so frantic that it’s more annoying than challenging.
The patterns of the shapes loosely correspond to the music but aren’t challenging to keep up with. Even the heavily produced and musically dense songs don’t pose a threat. It wouldn’t hurt if the shapes matched the song exactly, but sadly they don’t. For the most part, the shapes explode slightly ahead of the beat of the music. This might not be an issue for players who can tune out the sound effects. But if you’re a musician or EDM producer like me, it might just drive you crazy. You can’t get into the groove while the sounds clash.
The Settings tab in the main menu allows you to toggle the phone vibration and sound effects on or off. However, the sound effects only apply to the menu, not the gameplay. Also, there are three video quality options. I hoped that reducing the visual quality would lighten the workload and help the striking sound match the beat. No luck.
Great Tunes But Leaves a Lot to Be Desired
While Monstercat music is the perfect fit for this game, it’s disappointing that there are so few songs. Expanding beyond Monstercat and introducing additional EDM subgenres like Trance or Synthwave would take this game to new heights. There is no sense of progression or accomplishment. The visuals, music and weapons are appealing but don’t do much to distract from the downsides of Beat Battle. Despite the shortcomings, this game has incredible potential to be a successful rhythm game. However, it feels incomplete in its current state.
Is It Hardcore?
Jam out to classic EDM tracks and surf on a hoverboard through a vibrant neon world as you smash boxes to the beat in Studd Games’ rhythm game Beat Battle.