There is definitely something to be said for the elegance of simplicity when it has been done correctly, and — in that regard — Fortunacus Lucas’s Amazing Beat (out now, free) just might be onto something. In Amazing Beat — which contains absolutely no aggressive IAPs whatsoever, just small in game ads that display on the screen’s bottom edge — players are challenged to quickly sort a randomized series of falling red and blue shapes. Players must accomplish this endeavor by ensuring that all of the blue squares are properly placed on the screen’s left hand side, and furthermore that all of the red circles are correctly positioned on the opposing end.
To do this players will tap either the screen’s left or right hand side, which will — in turn — cause the next piece in line to be irrevocably shifted over to that side without a chance for reprieve. The game will then continue so long as each of the falling pieces — which appear in sync to the beat — are properly sorted before they reach the screen’s bottom, yet the game will otherwise end the moment a single failure occurs. Since each selection is permanently locked in whenever the screen is touched, people will need to not only be fast — but exceedingly accurate as well — if they ever wish to achieve a decent high score.
Although this premise may sound ludicrously primitive at first, Amazing Beat’s game play does offer the player a Zen-like state once they begin to actually get the hang of it (rather than just failing less than 10 seconds in). Those whom truly begin to master the game will soon discover that Amazing Beat doesn’t actually have a final goal to be reached, as the game will just reloop the current song indefinitely until the player fails. While some people will certainly enjoy eternally attempting to crush their previous high score, the game’s indefinite nature will unfortunately cause others to become acutely aware of the fact that Amazing Beat contains only five Trance style songs to select from.
Although one might have assumed that Amazing Beat would allow users to select songs from their iPod’s collection — so as to maintain a never-ending variety — this is sadly not the case, a decision that may greatly hinder the game’s long term potential for many. Now I don’t know whether this game is dynamically reading each song — or if the shapes’ timing was actually preprogrammed instead — but perhaps Amazing Beat could receive additional song packs in the future by way of IAP, so as to increase the game’s longevity. Of course, another change that Amazing Beat probably needs would be the existence of song specific high scores — rather than a singular high score being saved — as there’s a vast difference between surviving slow and steady songs versus ones that are fast and furious.
Still — despite the potentially deleterious lack of variety, or song specific high score tables — Amazing Beat’s core game play is still quite engaging, even if game’s premise is otherwise simplistic. In light of this fact – coupled with the reality that Fortunacus Lucas’s game is being offered absolutely for free, all with no IAP strings attached whatsoever – this app is definitely still worth checking out all the same. This goes doubly so if you happen to enjoy Trance music, as Amazing Beat especially has this particular musical genre down pat (even if its currently somewhat lacking in all other departments).
iFanzine Verdict: Although the action found in Fortunacus Lucas’s Amazing Beat is somewhat simplistic, with players endlessly sorting a randomized onslaught of circles and squares, the game play still has a Zen-like quality that some will deeply enjoy. Although its nice that the game is being offered completely for free, all sans any IAPs, it would have been even nicer if the game could utilize songs from the player’s iPod — or if more songs were initially available — or even if song specific high scores existed. However, despite these deficiencies, the fact that Amazing Beat’s game play is rather solid — and is furthermore coupled with a no-strings-attached free price tag — means that this app is definitely worth an exploratory download all the same.