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iPhone  header logo

B-Boy Beats

For: iPhone

I like B-Boy Beats and I can not lie

Product: B-Boy Beats (iPhone) | Developer: Mobile Pie | Publisher: Tag Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Casual, Music/ Rhythm | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 0.1, 0.1
B-Boy Beats (iPhone) iPhone, thumbnail 1
Breakdancing has to rate alongside high diving and sword swallowing as something I’d love to excel at, but would only entertain practising in private (and under the influence of strong liquor).

While the latter two activities threaten to break limbs and puncture organs, the main risk associated with a failed dance move is far worse to a reserved Englishman such as myself: bruised dignity.

As such, I’m forced to keep my hip-hop jigging fantasies where they lie, in the realms of my imagination. Fortunately, here’s B-Boy Beats to act as a rather effective outlet.

You other games can't deny

The music game genre has received a bit of kick up the backside recently, thanks to Riddim Ribbon. A genre that appeared to be going stale with unsatisfactory attempts to replicate Rock Band Guitar Hero on iPhone suddenly received a title that remembered we were gamers, and as such wanted a little more than an interactive soundtrack.

B-Boy Beats continues the good work, offering a simple but refreshingly approach to beat-matching.

It does this by asking you to pretend that your fore and middle fingers are feet. It’s something we’ve all done as kids, having miniature kung fu fights in the middle of maths class, so it’s something you slip into naturally.

Finding the rhythm of each track, by 'stepping' from the starting point on the screen to each indicated spot, then lifting or dragging it away, is a totally different proposition, though. Your early attempts will probably end in a finger-twisting mess as you discover that your hands have two left feet.

That made a lot more sense in my head.

When a game walks in with an itty bitty problem

And so this game of musical finger-Twister gradually sucks you in, leading you around a stylised map of New York and pitching you against a string of well-worn stereotypes: the spoiled cheerleader, the computer geek, the jive-talking trainer to name a few.

As you progress, the routines get more and more complex, with drags and two-fingered hops worked into the mix. You even find yourself needing to bring in your other hand for certain moves, which can create a bit of a tangle.

As the difficulty increases and you find yourself making more mistakes, one or two hairline cracks begin to show.

When you make a mistake – usually from lifting your finger at the wrong point rather than mistiming a beat, which seems a little harsh in itself – rather than being able to instantly regain your groove, things literally come screeching to a halt. While the music continues to play, you’re not allowed to continue with the beat-matching until you’ve returned your fingers to the starting position for a good second.

While this avoids the panicked chain of errors that can often build up in such games, it does tend to break your rhythm somewhat. In a genre that’s all about momentum, this is to the game's detriment.

And a round 8 in your face

Still, once you’ve committed a level’s requirements to muscle memory, the mistakes lessen and your enjoyment increases significantly. Thanks in no small part to some excellent cartoon-like presentation, which really evokes the gaudy, graffiti-tinged style that we all tend to associate with classic hip hop, you genuinely want to see the next level and hear its accompanying track.

Ah yes, the music. It’s heavy on the hip hop, naturally, but that shouldn’t put you rock or pop fans off. Almost without exception the tracks in B-Boy Beats have hooks, grooves and amusing lyrics aplenty, which any open minded music fan will appreciate. Do yourself a favour though, and only play the game using a decent set of earbuds/headphones.

Overall B-Boy Beats succeeds as both a casual music game and a skillful finger-flexing gamer’s game. Like break dancing itself, it might be an occasionally frustrating road to mastery, but ultimately the rewards far outweigh the annoyances.
B-Boy Beats
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 26 February 2010
While mastering B-Boy Beats is not without its annoyances, the sheer level of polish and an excellent soundtrack ensure that feet and fingers alike will be itching to face off against the next challenge
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