The Space Invaders team make sweet music for the soul
The App Store is no stranger to music games, and for a while the seemingly omnipresent Tap Tap Revenge series appeared to be dominating the genre. However, Groove Coaster, the latest nugget of genius from the Space Invaders: Infinity Gene team Taito, stands head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.
Using an incredibly intuitive one-touch control system, Groove Coaster takes your senses on a wild trip full of pulsating light shows, pounding dance music and fast-paced arcade action. The premise is simple, and can be picked up by players of all skill levels. Each stage sees your character sliding along a line in time with the superb music. As you go, you will pass through colourful orbs.
The aim is to tap the screen as you come into contact with each of these orbs to keep the music track flowing. Hitting consecutive orbs will result in a score multiplier, and ramps up the visuals until the whole thing starts to resemble a Japanese take on a Pink Floyd pyrotechnic show. It’s colourful and disorientating, but insanely addictive. You can even ad-lib between orbs for bonus points by tapping in time with the beat, which – in the latter, more hectic stages – can prove to be difficult. Hitting top ranks and amassing bigger scores will level up your character, unlocking new avatars with special abilities – such as revealing ad-lib spots, keeping the beat for you, and more – as well as earning new colour skins and items that mix up the gameplay.
The variety of music spans the dance genre, but with neat spins, such as throwing in jazz breaks, infectious J-pop choruses, and even remixed tracks from Taito’s back-catalogue of games. Notable examples include songs from Arkanoid DS, Space Invaders Extreme and Groove Coaster’s own spiritual predecessor, Infinity Gene.
Groove Coaster has been purpose-built for the iOS, rather than being ported over from another format, and it shows. You can literally play the game with one finger, and the music sounds incredible coming out of the iPad speakers or better still through some earphones. In short, this is far and away the greatest rhythm-action title in the App Store. Seek it out.
Trippy, psychedelic and addictive, Groove Coaster is an arcade-fuelled journey.
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