- Title: Beatstar
- Developer: Space Ape, LTD
- Publisher: Space Ape, LTD
- Release Date: August 31, 2021
- Platforms: iOS, Android
- Reviewed on: iOS
Synopsis: Tap, hold, and slide your fingers to the beat of famous songs across a multitude of genres and decades in a clever, fun, and addicting action rhythm game.
Breakdown: Guitar Hero and Rock Band were huge parts of my teenage/early college years. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing plastic guitars, drums, and microphones; witnessing people trying to crush scores and live out their rock star fantasies. I absolutely loved those games and even really enjoyed the DJ spin-off DJ Hero. There is just something about the gameplay of knowing the beat of a song and accumulating points from perfect button smashing that is so satisfying yet difficult to truly master. However, after college ended and I packed up to move back home, the sun had set on my time in the spotlight and it seemed there would be no encore.
I first learned about Beatstar through an Instagram ad, of all places. Don’t know why that is surprising to me as I work in advertising and know just how effective a well-placed and targeted ad can be, but something about the ad made me want to download the game. And let me tell you something, I am hooked.
Beatstar is very similar to Guitar Hero and Rock Band, but there is no costly and difficult-to-store plastic peripherals that you need to purchase in order to play–all you need is your iPhone. The gameplay is very similar–there is an ever moving highway of beats that travel from the top of your phone to an action area towards the bottom, and three rows that house different boxes you can tap. Some require you to hold your finger down for long stretches, while others require you to swipe left, right, up, or down to successfully claim the point.
While that might seem simplistic at first, Beatstar proves to be very challenging the more you get into the game. Whereas with Guitar Hero, the only notes you play are the guitar portions of songs, so you had an idea of what was coming next and what to listen out for, with Beatstar, anything is fair game. Sometimes the boxes will represent the beat, but then it will switch to follow the lyrics, only to switch once again to follow a specific instrument for a certain amount of time. This constant switching keeps you on your toes even on songs that you know backwards and forwards, and provides a deceptive challenge to the game play.
You can also add friends to the game so that you can compete against them on songs you both have on your list, though it would have been nice to go head-to-head against a friend and see exactly how they performed in their latest performance instead of just their best performance. A minor complaint, but something that would make this game even more addicting. Or, perhaps, even battling against people in real-time. That being said, it is really nice that you can brag to your connected friends when you beat their score and goad them into trying to come out on top again. (Side note – if you want to compete against me, feel free to add me: Mark#4016).
The game follows the tried and true progression that have made app developers money ever since Angry Birds, where you can unlock other songs by earning more points on songs you already own, or you can just pay real money to be able to unlock some songs. I refuse to pay for in-app purchases, so I am fine to let my talent dictate how many new songs I can unlock. You have three cases that contain cards that will, after accumulating enough, unlock new songs in certain genres, and if three of those cases are in the process of being unlocked (which takes a certain number of hours), you can’t play again until one of them is opened. It’s a nice way to get players hooked into the game–just when I think I am about to crack a song I’ve been trying to get a high score on, I have to wait two hours to be able to play again. Or I can pay, but again, that’s not for me. If I could just play to my heart’s content, I would quickly get bored of this game and move on to another game, but the fact that I can’t just play it whenever I want makes me want to play it that much more.
Another cool feature is that any song you like in your list will link to a special playlist on Apple Music with the full song, though if you don’t have Apple Music, this feature really isn’t for you. It is a nice touch, though. And make no mistake, these are the real, licensed songs we are all used to hearing on the radio (or wherever you listen to music), which makes the game instantly more fun because it is the original (albeit truncated) songs.
Final Score: 4/5
I can’t get enough of this game. The gameplay is smooth and challenging, the progression is reasonably balanced and makes you wait an appropriate amount of time to get back into the game, and the songs have all been fantastic so far. Little details like the direction you have to swipe a box matching with the lyrics of the song; as well as the phone vibrating on each successful hit take the game to the next level, and it absolutely is a fun, free app that music lovers and rhythm game lovers should download immediately. Your chance to be a rockstar has never been more accessible.
Mark Pereira is a senior writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward Sword, Super Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.
Featured Image Source: APKPure