Apart from the surprise release of the new PC-PSP Store (as in the one that was supposed to be released after Christmas), there were more surprises in-store when the European version of the Store had the full version of beats, a new game that managed to evade pretty much everyone's attention. At the moment, beats is only available in the European store while Americans have to make do with a trailer (though as usual they still got the better deal elsewhere). At £4.99, it seems like a good bargain, but is it up to the task?
I downloaded the game last night and so far, I've enjoyed it. The game itself takes up around 230MB on your memory stick (can't remember the exact figure at the moment) after you purchase it. The game takes your MP3 collection from the memory stick and puts a button sequence to the music, which is then given to you as a stage of the game. In other words, the game will last as long as you have music on your stick. If you feel you don't like the music in your collection, there's always the standard music wrapped in with the game.
In the game itself, your aim is to hit the right button as it's symbol scrolls on the screen, hitting it when the corresponding symbol reaches the centre circle. In Novice mode, you can see one circle and you can just concentrate on getting your button presses correct. In Normal mode and above, you will see three buttons from left to right. If a button symbol heads towards the left or right circles, you need to press the corresponding direction on the d-pad before you can press the button.
The more symbols you hit in time, the better your score and your chain will go up which in turn increases your multiplier. At some points, the symbol that comes onto the screen will have a trail of special sparkles. If you hit this one, your Overdrive meter, which is shown on the left of the screen, will go up. Once this is full, you can press the L button to double your multiplier for a few seconds. The better you use the overdrive, the more points you can score (after all, you don't want to use it up while the symbols aren't coming!)
I'm fairly impressed by the accuracy of the game to change the music to something playable. Let it be known that my taste in music is at the moment, Japanese music and game soundtracks, with a hint of electrical classical music. During my first round of stages, the buttons were pretty much in-tune with what I had. In terms of difficulty, novice and normal are straightforward enough but Hard is just insane and I can't begin to imagine what Expert is. Maybe too much of a spike there. The game also suffers from a slight slowdown when things get busy. Also, I would have liked a way to play all the stages from one of my collections and getting a total score at the end, rather than picking an individual song each time.
The game also features a jamming session where you can make and record your own tunes. I haven't explored it yet but it seemed pretty complex to me (tutorials are available for both modes of play). It might be worth exploring it, if you're a budding musician but if you're just here to play the game, it's safe to skip over this.
Is it worth £4.99? In my eyes, yes. The game is pretty solid aside from the niggles and if you have a huge music collection, then the game can last a long time. Just make sure you don't try the hard level too quickly on a rock song. It's bad enough with the Okami soundtrack...