Beatrider Touch in Review – Stronger Beat Needed

beatrider1BeatRider Touch was a game that had been on my radar for a long time, because of its touted feature of being able to upload your own songs to play along to. Like Tap Tap, Beatrider is a rhythm game where players tap icons on the screen along with the music as it plays, occasionally sliding your fingers to hold down notes.

Now I can say that Beatrider, upon first examination, seems awesome in every way and capable of fulfilling all of your rhythm game fantasies. I was extremely excited to be able to upload one of my own songs though, and I immediately jumped in thinking I could pull out any song from my iPod Touch and play it on the spot.

This is the part about BeatRider that was most disappointing to me. The music upload feature is a slow and tedious process to go through. It requires you to create an account on BeatRider, navigate to www.mybeatrider.com, then log in. From there you have to upload your music files (music w/ DRM not supported). Even with extremely fast internet, this process took a minute at least, and you have to individually choose music files to upload; you can’t just select the songs you want then let your PC/Mac do its thing.

beatrider2So, after uploading all of the songs on the computer, you go back to BeatRider on your iDevice to face yet another step. I figured out that you have to then download your songs again onto your iDevice before they can be played. Now this took another 30 seconds or so on my extremely fast internet. At school, where the Wi-Fi isn’t nearly as speedy, it took 10 whole minutes to download the song onto my iPod. Imagine doing this for multiple songs.

What makes matters even worse is that you’re only limited to 20 uploads of your songs at a time. If you want to change out songs, you have to then go back on the website and delete some songs. Plus, there’s a 7 day expiration period. After the 7 days, if you decide to change your music list online and refresh your account on the iPod, songs that have gone past the 7 days will not be there anymore because they’ve been deleted off the server. You’ll find yourself repeatedly uploading songs online, then downloading them again on your iPod.

beatrider3To put those matters aside, Beatrider is pretty fun to play. You have to be careful with your music selection as songs that are consistent and have a heavy bass will in turn have accurate note charts during the game. However, a lot of times songs may end up as a mess because the music recognition system that creates the note charts is not very precise. BeatRider I guess is more catered towards pop songs, and while music like Flo Rida’s Right Round, the Black Eyed Pea’s Boom Boom Pow, and Coldplay’s Viva La Vida work great, other songs just seem random and not that fun to play.

The graphics and visuals of Beatrider are pretty decent, with easy to identify colors and notes. I felt that the game was missing the polish that is present in the Tap Tap titles, though Beatrider isn’t ugly by any means.

The main thing I didn’t like about the animations was that they come down really fast, then slow down a bit as they get closer. An easier way to put this is like seeing the notes come down on a slide, even though the chart seems flat. They seem to come down at a constant rate but as they approach, they become more and more cramped which is most evident in the sliding portions. Something that looks like a gradual slide to the left will actually turn out to be a really quick shift.

beatrider4The music uploaded is also very clear and I had no problems playing them, it’s just that the sound emitted when pressing the notes is jarring and really annoying. Thankfully you can turn down that note key effect.

The controls work great, with responsive touch controls and the system picked up my slides well. However the play area is really small, and doesn’t utilize the entire screen. Especially for a person with bigger hands, I often found myself missing the notes because the buttons were really cramped. A future update promising landscape mode should fix this though.

Overall, gameplay is pretty good in Beatrider if you ignore all of the issues previously mentioned. The various difficulty levels provide just about everyone with a suitable level, and unlike Tap Tap which only has 3 notes, Beatrider is actually difficult and can become really intense! It’s great to have your own music playing and be able to keep track of your scores and max combos for your favorite song.

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As far as replay value goes you could say it is endless because it’s always possible to put different songs on the list. Your best score for each song is tracked, and there is an online leaderboard as well. The online high scores list is faulty in that they only track the highest scores ever, so the more fast paced and longer the song is, the higher the scores you’ll be rewarded. If the list was separated into different time categories, the leaderboard would be more refined and informative.

Beatrider could have been the perfect rhythm game but alas, it’s not. If you’re willing to overcome its shortcomings, mainly uploading the music, you’ll have a blast actually playing the songs. Every time you finish one, there’s a nice breakdown of how you did and the ability to have basically any song to play with is wonderful. At $4.99, it’s a bit much for being able to only upload 20 songs at a time. If you’re willing to have only 1 song to play with at a time, I would recommend you go with the Lite version. BeatRider is definitely headed in the right direction and hopefully future updates will allow it to fulfill its full potential.

BeatRider Touch gets tapped by TouchMyApps.

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App Summary
Title:BeatRider Touch (v 1.0)Developer:TheMusic co., Ltd
Price:$4.99App Size:5.5 MB
  • Actually provides a worthwhile challenge
  • You get to upload your own music!
  • Fun to play
  • Nice colors and effects
  • Screen is cramped
  • Uploading music is a chore
  • The note charts aren’t always accurate
  • Notes don’t come down evenly
  • Pricey for only 20 songs that have a 7 day expiration

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