Author: Andrew Fletcher
After picking up a favorable critical reception at the International Games Festival, Audiosurf has been the indie flavor of the month on Steam, and rightly so. Ostensibly it is about veering a hovercraft left and right along a race track that undulates to the beat of your chosen song and collecting colored blocks for points, but the grid that those color blocks fall into turns the game into a kind of two-tiered puzzler. Keen racing reactions are needed to collect and correctly position high-scoring blocks of the same color into groups of 3 or more (after which, as you may have guessed, they will disappear).
Created by Masaya Matsuura, the man who pioneered music-generated gaming in Vib Ribbon, Musika is certainly the most baffling game of the four. Not because of any exciting Japanese weirdness or ultra-tough difficulty (both staples of old school rhythm action), but simply because there appears to be no game here.
As polished and colourful as Phase is, playing Beats on PSP afterwards feels like being sat next to a giant subwoofer in the trendiest, spaciest club in town. This is very much rhythm action seen through a Tetsuya Mizuguchi kaleidoscope.
Made by Rock Band and Guitar Hero pioneers Harmonix, Phase harks back most closely to the developer's outstanding debut titles Frequency and Amplitude. A now very familiar vertical track scrolls toward the screen, while the player attempts to hit the notes dotted along each of the track's 3 lines with the use of the 3 central iPod buttons (left, centre, right).
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