Technic Beat Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
PlayStation 2
Release date:
November 2, 2004
Publisher:
Mastiff
Developer:
Arika
Players:
1 - 2
Genre:
Music
ESRB:
E

Technic Beat

James works the funky flow with Arika's action music release.

Review by James Cunningham (Email)
December 15th 2004

There's something about the music game genre that seems to inspire creativity, both in gameplay and graphic design, in a developer. Whether it's using the gamepad to type in the lyrics in Parappa, using the analog stick to trace the line of the music in Gitaroo Man, beating the drums in Donkey Konga and Taiko Drum Master, playing a beat-based version of 'Simon Says' in Space Channel 5, or activating circles that bloom into flowers of light in Technic Beat, they all approach music and how to interact with it in a different way.

Technic Beat is a classic "pick up and play" style arcade game where you run around a stage (a small area where you perform rather than the more usual video game term that's another word for a level) activating circles in time to the beat of the music. It sounds so simple and easy when put that way, but somebody went nuts with the gameplay mechanics and there's an entire world of things that effect that description and how you interact with it.

Basically, when a ring appears on stage a smaller ring will be inside it, growing at a quick, steady pace until it hits the outside ring. When it hits the outside ring the whole circle flashes and the player, standing either inside the circle or close by outside, activates it with the press of a button. A flower made of light will bloom and a tone will sound that fits in nicely to the music being played, and the player runs off to the next ring to activate it. Alternately, the player could plan ahead and move the first ring so it's touching (or overlapping, for the imprecise) that next ring and make a chain, because when the first ring is activated any rings touching it will automatically be queued up to go off. Have four rings in a line, all touching? All you need to do is get the first one in the chain and the entire set will go off to the beat of the music. There are even advanced tricks like setting of a chain of rings, grabbing another ring and tossing it onto the end, and continuing the chain. With a bit (read: a lot) of practice it's possible to make some seriously long and point-yielding combos.

That practice will be needed, too. Technic Beat isn't afraid to be brutally hard on some of the trickier songs, and though anyone can start playing it fairly quickly it will take a lot of gaming to see some of the later levels without serious brain hemorrhaging. Thankfully the game never forces the player into the harder songs, letting them pick and choose from a fairly lengthy song list tidily divided up into difficulty levels ranging from 1 (brain-dead easy) to somewhere I haven't seen yet. Unlocking the hard stuff involves doing well in the easier stuff, and level 6 songs are as far as I go. Suffice it to say that there's no shortage of challenge for those who really get into mastering a game.

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