In a time where kinect games releases are few and far between, Virtual Air Guitar are doing a pretty good job in keeping the genre afloat. Following on from the release of Squid Hero earlier this year, which saw you take control of a Squid, unsurprisingly the company has followed it up with Beatsplosion. Their newest kinect release sees you use your fists to punch crystals as you fly through a variety of different levels.
While the game has no particular story, it doesn’t really feel like it needs one. The simple basis of the game sees you going through levels with different degrees of difficulty, where you have to use your fists in order to smash crystals scattered across your screen. These crystals come in various shapes and sizes, from smaller ones you can just punch to bigger,, longer ones that you have to swipe with your arm instead. These crystals must be hit in time with the beat of the song, and light up on the beat, the same with obstacles which have to be dodged in time with beat as well. As the difficulty gets higher, the beat gets faster, and you must keep in time and smash all the crystals “just right” in order to achieve a higher percentage and score at the end of a level.
Beatsplosion for Kinect: Xbox One [Reviewed]
Developer: Virtual Air Guitar Company
Publisher: Virtual Air Guitar Company
Release Date: 30 December 2015
Price: £9:99 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Developer/Publisher]
The game presents you with a series of levels to complete, which go up in a curve of difficulty in the form of karate belts. You start at white belt, and once you have complete that group of levels and got a high enough score, you unlock the next belt and so on, all the way up to black belt. This is a good way of forcing you to play all the level, as well as increasing the difficulty of them slowly but surely, and not simply throwing you in the deep end straight away. The white belt levels even serve as a kind of tutorial, and introduce and talk you through how to basically play the game anyway, so there’s no excuse as to not understanding what to do.
Obviously, Kinect games all require a certain degree of movement from you, but if you are playing your Kinect in a fairly limited space, as I was, then you shouldn’t have too much of a problem with Beatsplosion. The majority of your movement will come from the upper body, either in the form of punches or leaning side to side, with your feet only used minimally and actually stepping off the spot you are in is pretty much non-existent. This opens the game up to a wider audience who may not have that massive space in their room you always see on adverts for these kinds of games, but it still encourages you to get up and move whilst being able to do so in a fairly small area.
Music is a huge part of this game, as you will be punching the crystals in time to the beat, and for the most part it is spot on. Largely, the music is interesting and not too repetitive which means you might find yourself dancing along as you throw your punches. Sometimes some of the songs in the levels don’t feel like the beat accents are strong enough so it can be easy to meet the “just right” moment to hit the crystal, even with the addition of them lighting up on the beat you are supposed to hit them. Similarly, the game doesn’t always seem to respond to your hits exactly as you would like, and some of the crystal shapes you may miss entirely, even though you feel you threw your arm at exactly the right time. These problems are more of an inconvenience rather than a full blown flaw of the game, so you should still be able to more than enjoy it without these being game breaking for you.
The game has a similar kind of look and feel to Virtual Air Guitar’s other games, especially in the dragging Menu and the style of the writing. The levels themselves are simply done, with a colourful background that isn’t so fancy to take your focus away from the crystals and obstacles in the foreground. As well as the increase of difficulty through the belts, the game also offers you a few other ways to increase difficulty and add replayability. You have the option of expert difficulty, which jacks all of the different coloured belt levels and gives you the opportunity to play them again for a new challenge. If you want something a little different, then there are two other options for you. The random patterns and 20-minute challenge levels are fairly self-explanatory, with each coloured belt having one of each to try, and giving you a different kind of challenge, with awareness and stamina.
Even though Beatsplosion doesn’t have many games to compete against in the genre, it manages to stand its own pretty well. A decent number of levels with a simple yet well-worked concept combines to form a game that you may not play for hours on end, but that will definitely entertain you in short bursts. Being able to play it in a fairly small space is a definite bonus, and whilst it does have its problems, overall if you enjoy Kinect games or even music based games, it’s hard to not recommend Beatsplosion for a purchase.