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Music games

Rocksmith 2014 photo
Rocksmith 2014

Rocksmith 2014 rated for PS4 and Xbox One


...but can it teach me how to play "3s & 7s" competently?
Aug 26
// Brittany Vincent
Rocksmith 2014 has been rated for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One by the ESRB and Korean Game Rating Board, and I'm still sitting here waiting for a new iteration of Guitar Hero. Although Ubisoft hasn't announced any new versi...
Taiko no Tatsujin photo
Taiko no Tatsujin

New pics surface of the Taiko no Tatsujin drum controller


And it was never ever localized, the end!
Aug 21
// Brittany Vincent
More pics have surfaced of the sweet Taiko no Tatsujin controller compatible with the Wii and Wii U. Unfortunately there hasn't been a Taiko no Tatsujin game available in the West since the PlayStation 2's heyday, but rhythm ...
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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call: Music contest kicks off, new screens


Kupo!
Aug 06
// Dale North
The Legacy of Music Contest for upcoming 3DS game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call has officially kicked off. Did you see...me in the contest announcement video? Weird, right?  I can't wait to hear all of the arra...
Next great roguelike photo
Next great roguelike

Man, I wish I were playing Crypt of the NecroDancer right now


It's out on Steam Early Access
Jul 31
// Jordan Devore
Are you playing Crypt of the NecroDancer? You should be playing Crypt of the NecroDancer. It's a rhythm-based roguelike in which you hop around dungeons to the beat of music, a novel mechanic that ends up being enjoyable -- n...
Taiko Drum Master photo
Taiko Drum Master

Bang the drums and roll the dice in this Taiko Drum Master RPG


More Taiko than you can handle!
Jul 04
// Brittany Vincent
A new Taiko Drum Master game is now available on a mobile device nowhere near you (if you live in Japan, anyway) with Taiko Drum Master: RPG Daton, an adorable quest featuring the cute little Taiko characters, pachinko balls...
Project DIVA F 2nd photo
Project DIVA F 2nd

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd to feature fully-translated English lyrics


The songs are still in Japanese, though
Jul 03
// Brittany Vincent
It's exciting to see so much love for Hatsune Miku from Sega, especially given how fun the Project DIVA games are. Perhaps as an extension of said love, Sega has announced that Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd will feature f...
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Korg DSN-12 analog synthesizer comes to 3DS this September


3D oscilloscope on the 3DS!
Jun 26
// Dale North
The following might be lost on you if you're not a music or sound person. Japan-based Detune Ltd, the folks behind DS and 3DS musical software titles Korg DS-10 and Korg M01, are back with another new musical tool, the Korg ...
The Rhythm of Fighters photo
The Rhythm of Fighters

The Rhythm of Fighters combines music with brawling for your gaming pleasure


Putting the "beat" back in music
Jun 20
// Brittany Vincent
Do you love fighting games? Do you love music games? What about a combination of the two? No, I'm not talking about Kickbeat. I'm actually talking about The Rhythm of Fighters - SNK Original Sound Collection. Strangely enough...
Project DIVA photo
Quick hands-on preview
As Miku fans likely already know, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd is coming to North America this year, to both PS3 and Vita. It was through your support for the first title that this sequel's release is possible, Sega tell...

Phil Fish is back photo
Phil Fish is back

Fez, Canabalt creators announce new partnership


Polytron and Finji reveal support for musical indie game Panoramical
Jun 12
// Kyle MacGregor
A unique partnership was unveiled today at the Los Angeles-based Horizon conference, an E3 alternative event hosted by Venus Patrol and the LA Museum of Contemporary Art. Panoramical is described as "anthology of intera...

Harmonix announces Dance Central Spotlight, a digital-only Xbox One exclusive

Jun 09 // Dale North
There's a new fitness mode that will give players up to 90 minutes of non-stop dancing to burn calories. A new practice mode can be called forth at any time to learn moves. There's also the ability to do a loop of routines, like a sort of playlist. So far, these are the only confirmed songs for the tracklist: “Wake Me Up” –  Avicii “Talk Dirty” –  Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz “Show Me” –  Kid Ink ft. Chris Brown “Counting Stars” –  OneRepublic “Happy” – Pharrell Williams  
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Kinect lives on
Dance Central Spotlight is a new Xbox One Kinect dancing title. The idea is to keep the focus on dancing and music, serving as a sort of follow-up to the hit Xbox 360 title Dance Central. The difference here is that Spotligh...

Fantasia: Music Evolved introduces partner apprentice Scout

Jun 06 // Dale North
A new hands-on (hands-off?) session had us playing a newly revealed area called The Neighborhood. The scene features urban street art, psychedelic colors, and has a bit of a comic book vibe. Harmonix said that it was inspired by artists like The Who, and by songs like Cee Lo Green's "Forget You," among others. The area starts out pretty quiet, but as you move the Muse 3D cursor around to manipulate zones, it starts to come alive, first with radio signals, and later with music that you've unlocked. A play through of "Forget You" had us layering rock guitars and keyboards with Cee Lo's original vocals from the hit song. Later, we chopped up drum loops in a composition spell, and created a keyboard solo by waving hands in another.  After this, a diversion into a subway stop of The Neighborhood had us doing a freestyle sequencing section with singing vegetables. A turnip and beet had their own vocal tracks, while a carrot dropped a beatbox track. By moving between the vegetables, the player can jam out to create their own loops, making their own track. This performance is then added back into The Neighborhood as background music. In this case, the trio was added to a train that came back around to the scene regularly. A few new tracks for Fantasia: Music Evolved were announced during our session. Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" will be a part of this stage, as will The Police's "Message in a Bottle." On the classical side, "The Nutcracker" was pulled from the original Fantasia. I tried my hand at Drake's "Take Care." Things got pretty interesting with alternate music tracks that underscored the entire song with acapella background vocals and beatbox rhythms.
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Hands-on with new Neighborhood level
Harmonix has thought a lot about how they'll welcome players to Fantasia: Music Evolved and they've decided to add a partner apprentice that will serve as a sort of game guide. Her name is Scout, a talented but impatient appr...

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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call trailer shows off RPG elements


New modes shown
Jun 05
// Dale North
The music of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call is pulled from the biggest RPG series ever, so why shouldn't the game have its own RPG elements? This new trailer for the upcoming 3DS music game shows off some of tho...
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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call launches Sept. 16


Collector's Edition and pre-order incentives announced
Jun 03
// Dale North
We finally have a release date for 3DS music game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call: September 16. Packed with 26 years of Final Fantasy music, this release comes in both standard and Collector's editions. The latter wil...

Songs for the dearth: Classic music games to fill the hollow

May 29 // Brittany Vincent
Quest for Fame [embed]275563:54070:0[/embed] Quest for Fame was an Aerosmith-themed PC rocker that came packaged with a light blue guitar pick peripheral. You know, back when the term “peripheral” didn’t simply mean “enormous piece of plastic I’ll later toss in my closet.” Though the game suggested you tap the pick against a hard surface, I usually found that smacking my thigh produced the best results via “rhythm EKG,” the meter for measuring your progress on-screen. This meant you looked like a total moron while playing. It was quick, raw, and fairly dirty, like any BioWare sex scene. But it effectively simulated the feeling of “playing” a real guitar. And to me, that meant something. Unfortunately, through repeated use and abuse, the guitar pick eventually only responded when slammed against the computer desk in front of me. It was, however, a fresh look at a genre I’d never experienced before, and it hardly receives any of the credit it rightfully deserves as one of the first truly interactive guitar games to make you feel like a rock star. Space Channel 5 [embed]275563:54072:0[/embed] Atomic pink-haired Ulala, a particularly scintillating tentacle scene, and some embarrassingly catchy electronic pop joined together like undulating Planeteers to create Space Channel 5. By your powers combined, indeed. With every “chu!” and subsequent “HEY!”, the quirky crew liberated groovin’ presidents and helpless civilians from the clutches of the terrifying Morolians and those who dared side with them. In classic call-and-response fashion, enemies spewed out a string of nonsensical chants alongside “lyrics” that could only be described as lazy, leaving you as Ulala to repeat them back with the beat. Unless you had the memory of a goldfish, you could save the world. And I’m proud to say I -- wait, what? It wasn’t perfect, but I would have given my silver Space Michael onesie to work on Ulala’s Swingin’ Report Show. Admit it, you would have too, unless you don’t know the difference between Pudding and Padding. In that case, get off my stage. Gitaroo Man [embed]275563:54073:0[/embed] U-1 played a magical Gitaroo, or as us normal folk would call it, a guitar. And it was good. Still is. Don’t hate. Gitaroo Man, the classic drag-the-note-via-analog-stick-to-pitch-bend musical adventure had it all, even some particularly horrid English voice acting. From cutesy J-Pop to orchestral songs littered with hardcore guitar riffs, to some Day of the Dead-like tunes, it’s a cavalcade of songs meant to beat you into submission. Though genuinely nightmarish in difficulty, it’s still flyin’ to my heart after all these years. A rare find on the PlayStation 2, it saw subsequent release on the PSP for an affordable less-than-$20 steal. PaRappa the Rapper/Um Jammer Lammy [embed]275563:54074:0[/embed] I need to potty, or I’ll be real naughty. I’ll settle for talking about PaRappa the Rapper -- rappin’ dog, and Um Jammer Lammy -- wailin’ lamb (now immortalized on my right arm.) PaRappa, with all the street cred a talking dog could muster after falling in love with a sunflower and rapping about seafood cake, was pretty darn dope, y’all. Lammy adopted the same premise as PaRappa, but you wailed on a guitar rather than relying on your rapping chops to solve every single one of your problems. Rodney Alan Greenblat lent his magical touch to the games, giving them a “paper-thin” look, as well as some truly bizarre characters that to this day I can’t forget. Tupac may have gone down in history, but lines like “In the rain or in the snow / I got the funky flow / But now, I really gotta go” deserve archival for future generations. PaRappa received a lackluster sequel (minus the bit about the burgers) and Major Minor’s Majestic March ranks as one of the worst games I’ve ever had the misfortune of playing. So stick to PaRappa or Lammy’s first endeavors. And that’s the bottom line, ‘cause Chop Chop Master Onion said so. Vib Ribbon [embed]275563:54077:0[/embed] To some, this is one of the strangest music games ever made. To those same people, The Human Centipede is “scary” and the Fright Night remake induces nightmares. You know the type. With its overabundance of vector graphics and trippy music, it’s definitely an acquired taste. But one that goes down oh so good. Like eating at White Castle, without the crippling heartburn in the morning. As the vector rabbit Vibri, you traverse each level (a thin white line) riddled with obstacles. If you’re a chicken-wuss, you can use any CD to create stages for Vibri. Go ahead, use Limp Bizkit. Vibri trucks on to "Rollin’." You’ll quickly learn that Vib Ribbon also means to scare the bejeezus out of you, especially if you play along to the song “Polaroid.” Lordy, lordy. I know I spent hours with Monster Rancher back in the day trying to get different monsters from my dad’s CD collection...so if you wasted all your time spinning anything from The Pixies to ‘70s Superstar Club Hits, you’ll feel right at home here. Unfortunately, Vib Ribbon never saw a North American release, so you’ll need to get crafty to procure a copy in this day and age. Bust A Groove (Bust A Move) [embed]275563:54076:0[/embed] Following in the vein of PaRappa the Rapper, Bust A Groove boasted a varied mix of tracks ranging from trance to disco and everything in between. You input a string of arrows on the PlayStation’s d-pad followed by one of the four face buttons, all in time with the music, of course. It stars a crazy cast of characters, including a grown woman with an infantilism fetish, your token zombie character, and even capoeira-dancing aliens named (you guessed it) Capoeira. Hey, I never said it won points for originality. Each of the characters represent the mix of dance styles, so no matter who you pick you’re destined for busting some “stone-cold grooves." If you could manage to pull off Perfects for three or more turns, you’d get a Freeze. Dance perfectly, or reach a score higher than recommended for that stage? You’d get Fever Time, which showcased your character’s amazing dance moves in a solo show that almost always turned out dismally, unless you chose to play as gangsta rapper Strike. And he’s so much more street than Fiddy’ll ever be. Unfortunately, I stepped on my copy and cracked the disc. This is why I can’t have nice things.
Music games photo
Rockin' just to keep on rockin'
With a new Amplitude on the horizon and a post-Guitar Hero world having left much to be desired by way of rhythm games, we must look to the past to drink our fill from the fount of the world of music. And even before Guitar H...

Harmonix Kickstarter photo
Harmonix Kickstarter

Amplitude Kickstarter crosses finish line with $844K


Congrats, Harmonix!
May 24
// Kyle MacGregor
It's over. The Kickstarter campaign for Amplitude, a revival of Harmonix Music System's 2003 PlayStation 2 game, has run its course. After achieving its $775,000 funding goal with precious little time to spare, the project co...
Amplitude photo
Amplitude

Get ready 2 rokk: Amplitude's Kickstarter successfully funded


That was a close one, rhythm game fans
May 22
// Brittany Vincent
After a tense will-they-or-won't-they run, Harmonix's Kickstarter for a revival of cult classic music game Amplitude has been funded. At the time of this post, the current amount raised by backers is $777,219, with a funding ...
SingStar photo
SingStar

SingStar resurfacing on PS4 later this year so you can sing your heart out


And believe me, I will
May 21
// Brittany Vincent
There isn't any decent karaoke where I live and I'm not in San Francisco or New York, so I turn to games like SingStar for my singing fix. SingStar is coming to PS4 in a big way later this year, and I couldn't be more ex...
Amplitude photo
Amplitude

Harmonix on why it needs Kickstarter to fund Amplitude


It's that or nothing, basically
May 14
// Jordan Devore
Harmonix is attempting to crowdfund a new Amplitude right now and there's been confusion as to why the studio went this route. There's a lot of confusion in general when it comes to crowdfunding, for that matter. In an attemp...
Record Run photo
Record Run

Harmonix releases free-to-play Record Run for iOS devices


Yes, Android is coming as well
May 08
// Brittany Vincent
Harmonix is hard at work getting its Amplitude Kickstarter off the ground, but there's still time for other projects to come to fruition. Harmonix and SuperVillain Studios have teamed up to release rhythm-runner Record Run f...
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Rez and Lumines creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi is thinking about his next game


Synaesthesia
May 08
// Dale North
Rez and Lumines creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi took a step back in 2012 to relax, and fully left Q Entertainment last year. He has been working on social games in Japan since then, but it sounds like he's gearing up to create some...
Amplitude is back photo
Planned for PS3 and PS4
Surely you remember PS2 beat-matching games Frequency and Amplitude. Classics, right? Harmonix told us that they've been waiting to create a new title in the series, and they're announcing a Kickstarter today to do just that....

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Chiptune artist Shael Riley wants to train your ears with new game


String's Theory is looking for the Greenlight
Apr 29
// Ian Bonds
Shael Riley (of The Double Ice Backfire) and his pals at ThaSauce Games want to bring music game fans something fresh and unique to the genre, in the hopes it will be picked up by Steam Greenlight. Riley tackled the art, sou...

Review: FRACT OSC

Apr 28 // Alasdair Duncan
[embed]273633:53623:0[/embed] FRACT OSC [Mac, PC (reviewed)]Developer: Phosfiend SystemsPublisher: Phosfiend SystemsMSRP: $14.99Released: April 22, 2014 FRACT OSC is split into two sections. The main part involves exploring a beautiful, abstract landscape and solving music-based puzzles you'll find dotted around the environment. The other is a studio room containing a synthesizer and sequencer whose components you'll unlock in the main game; solve more puzzles in the main part and the more tools and settings you'll have to play around with in the music studio. FRACT starts off with limited information -- indeed, the only text you'll see (outside of the menus) is the title of the game floating by -- and you won't be getting any clues as you start to explore.  The first thing that will strike you about FRACT OSC is its minimalistic art style; the environment is made of straight lines and big blocky shapes. There are lots of bright colorful shapes and objects that pulse and generate tones and sounds when you approach, making what appears to be a lifeless landscape feel strangely organic. What really captures the attention is the sheer scale of it all; it seems so vast and immense with dazzling structures, fields of crystals, and shards of light shooting upwards. When you actually complete a section, you'll unlock some background music as well and it just helps fill in the world a bit more. What starts off as an interesting but barren landscape is eventually pulsing with sound and light.  FRACT is split into three areas for each synth you can unlock in your studio: the lead, pad, and bass. To gain access to another tool for the studio, you'll need to unlock a pair of puzzles. For instance, the lead synth section starts with musical cubes in a grid; the player has to move them around whilst standing on a designated platform to complete the puzzle. Once they've done that, there's a sequencer puzzle that will finish off the section. This format repeats itself five times increasing in difficulty each time and although it's a shame there isn't more variation in the puzzles, the reward of more unlocks will keep pushing you forward. What may put many players off is the almost complete lack of a guiding hand or clear sense of what to do first. As always, being dumped on an alien landscape with very little idea of what to do or where to go, FRACT can be overwhelming but once you start making those first steps, you'll find there is a logic and pattern to what you're supposed to be doing. As you come across fast travel booths, you'll get an idea of a three-dimensional map that you can use to plot your progress. Each synth section is color-coded and has its own thematic style too, like the pad synthesizer puzzles all cause a fluorescent green liquid to flow through a dam, filling a lake. It's a great way of making it clear what to expect but there's still plenty of times where you can wander off the beaten path and end up solving puzzles out of order.  The immediate challenge is unlocking the three main synths, but there's an inspired ending chapter that distils all of FRACT's music creation tools into a large platforming puzzle. It's a high point in a game that has plenty of them. Indeed, the title is a series of fantastic musical and visual peaks that keep rising and rising into a crescendo. If you mainline the puzzles and quickly get a good grasp on them, you can finish FRACT OSC in a few hours. However, it's worth taking time to explore, find hidden corners, and really soak up the ambiance. Once you're done, it's off to the music studio.  The music studio is pretty well stocked; you'll find all your unlocked synths and FX units. If you've ever used the KORG DS titles, you'll have a good idea what to expect. Completing the game will give you advanced options for your FX units but if you have no musical experience (there are some in-game tutorials), they can be daunting. It's easy to create some simple loops and if you're a more advanced musician, FRACT will export your creations as mp3s or upload them to your YouTube channel. Despite the main point of the game being the challenge of unlocking the synth modules, you can choose to just unlock the entire studio via the main menu. Whilst you can control FRACT with a controller, the puzzle sections and studio parts do require a bit of finesse that using a keyboard and mouse will give you. Graphics options are fairly limited although the simple shapes and colors of the art style don't really need to have to many graphical bells and whistles to fool around with. FRACT OSC is a game where you need to be willing to go in blind and just explore; this might be something that puts a player off within the first 10 minutes, as there's no tooltips or tutorial to tell them what to do, unlike most modern games. If you allow yourself to be drawn into the strange, geometric landscape and understand the structure of the puzzles and progression, then you'll be rewarded with a great experience. Seeing the world fill up with sound and color is an amazing sight and it's something that should be experienced by all regardless of your level of music skill.
FRACT OSC photo
This abstract but beautiful music puzzle game is worth exploring
Although FRACT OSC is a music game, it doesn't fall into the two distinct genres that we're used to seeing. It's neither a rhythm game like Rock Band, Elite Beat Agents, or Rhythm Heaven and nor is it a title that uses your o...

Beat Hazard photo
Beat Hazard

Design your own ship in Beat Hazard: Shadow Operations DLC


I want to pilot the Bebop
Apr 22
// Brittany Vincent
Out of all the places I could play Beat Hazard, I usually play on my phone. Beat Hazard on Steam, however, is packing brand new DLC. The Shadow Operations pack may just change my mind about which platform I choose to play on....
Theatrhythm Curtain Call photo
Sequel to the best 3DS rhythm game
Square Enix's follow-up to Theathrythm Final Fantasy has finally been confirmed for release in North America. That's right: Theathrythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call is coming our way sometime this year, priced at $39.99. We sa...

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Stop-motion rhythm game inSynch has my toe tappin'


Coming to Windows, Linux and Mac in April
Apr 21
// Dale North
Them Games Studio says that their upcoming game, inSynch, falls somewhere between a rhythm game and a musical instrument. Its gameplay is simple: it has you popping up objects that roll in from the four corners of the screen...
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Musical exploration game FRACT OSC will be at PAX East


New teaser video released
Mar 31
// Conrad Zimmerman
FRACT OSC will be releasing next month and while we don't know exactly when it will be available for purchase just yet, we do know that the game will be playable on the show floor at PAX East, April 11-13, as part of th...
Vocaloid photo
Vocaloid

PS Vita rhythm game IA/VT Colorful sure looks like an acid trip


So many colors!
Mar 29
// Kyle MacGregor
Hatsune Miku may be the queen of digital songstresses, but she's by no means the only act in town. Many are looking to join the party, like IA/VT Colorful, a rhythm game starring vocaloid idol IA. The musical title features 60 different tracks to get players bumping and grinding when the game arrives in Japan on July 31. Marvelous AQL has yet to announce a western release.
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Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd coming west


YISSSSSS!
Mar 28
// Dale North
We forgot to say something the other day. I hate that we did because I'm such a fan! Sega has confirmed that Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd will be coming to our shores (North America and Europe) later this year, for both ...

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