With a name like Beats Slider you’d be forgiven for thinking that, Velocity developer, Futurlab’s second PlayStation Mobile title – along with Fuel Tiracas – is a game focused entirely around making music. In fact, this devilishly named bite-sized bit of fun is actually a puzzle game with some rather brilliant music mechanics working away underneath the surface; so much so that you’ll probably never even notice the seamless changes as you shift and rearrange the many puzzles you’ll find within.
Beats Slider actually gets its name from the rather simple mechanic that each level is based on: you literally slide beats around. By moving these beats you shape the music that’s happening in the level as you try to form the ‘correct’ musical sequence for you to play. I say ‘correct’ because the folks at Futurlabs have done such a good job with the music that the minimal MIDI instruments always create a great sound to play along to even if they’re in the wrong order.
By matching the soundwave line that comes from each of the coloured soundwaves on the board you’ll correctly piece together the proper sound file – and then the empty space fills and you’ll complete the track. It’s a simple way to help you think linearly rather than worrying about the entire picture as you piece the puzzle together track by track. You can handily slide two tiles at once too, so when you begin to factor in speed and movement numbers to win medals on each level you’ll be able to save some time and space there.
If, like me, you’re absolutely abysmal at these sliding puzzle games you’ll be thankful that Futurlab have included an extremely handy playing guide. Combine that with the aforementioned level design, you’ll see that what Futurlab are doing with Beats Slider isn’t just creating a puzzle game. They’re actually setting out to create a game that’ll teach you how to handle all slider puzzle games – teaching you the tips and tricks you’ll use along the way.
For the rather tasty price of 65p Beats Slider is priced around the similar ballpark of your iOS or smaller Android Marketplace apps, meaning it’s perfectly suited to sweep in and win people over with its addictive gameplay. It may not be as instantly accessible as Fuel Tiracas or other mobile titles out there, but its high production values and catchy music are more than enough to capture a wide audience. And, who knows you might well learn something on playing games in the process.
Audio/Visual – 4/5: Incredibly strong music and interactivity with it but while it’s wonderful to look at, there isn’t really a lot to be looking at.
Gameplay – 4/5: Simple and easy to pick up but it’s ultimately sliding pieces around to solve a puzzle. Plenty of levels to play though, and the remix mode brings more fun to puzzles.
Innovation – 4/5: It actually teaches you how to play the slider puzzle games – it’s what all incompetent people like myself have been calling out for! It also does it while making it enjoyable, and the effort put into how music is mixed and created is simply incredible.
Value – 5/5: Placed in the same camp as other smartphone games – although slightly cheaper – this doesn’t ask for microtransactions or upgrades. You pay once and get a whole host of engaging levels to enjoy.
Final Score: 4/5