Game Reviews

Pulse: The Game

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| Pulse: The Game
Pulse: The Game
| Pulse: The Game

For pure dance enthusiasts, the ensemble of Lady Gaga, commercial US dance and obscure Europop that tends to dominate the soundtracks of Tap Tap Revenge and its clones on iPhone doesn't cut the mustard.

In essence, only trance will do.

Pulse: The Game is an unashamed response to that feeling; developer Virtual Fairground's shrewd collaboration with Holland's mainstream-yet-mod export Ferry Corsten proving a smart move.

Step by step

Indeed, the very nature of Corsten's tracks (seven in total) – layered as they are with rhythm, synth and sample – fits perfectly within the game's novel take on the rhythm action genre.

Instead of simply playing a mix and keeping time, the track's existence relies on your ability to keep it ticking over.

Pulse scrolls the track in question from left to right, your initial task being to tap anywhere on the screen with every fourth beat, as demonstrated when the oscillating pulse crosses a large node on the horizontal.

Successfully do this for each node and the pulse generated begins to expand vertically, swinging up and down with greater intensity and taking it further and further away from the main beat line.

Once it starts to hit the next horizontal line on the screen – each one representing an additional sample that can be unlocked and added to the track – it's your job to double tap, lock on and begin building up the score again.

Repeat after me

Doing so is much like a mini-game of 80s electronic classic Simon; the idea being to repeat any given sequence of taps without error. Get it right and additional sounds come on board.

Completing each track is a case of unlocking each and every sample and keeping their respective lifelines flowing.

This essentially means repeating these tasks over and over as you see their respective lifelines begin to wane, all while maintaining the tap of the beat to build your score and keep the strength of the pulse flowing.

It's quite tricky to unlock each sample in the heat of the moment, given doing so requires a double-tap whenever the pulse skirts over that particular line. This means you have to take yourself out of the rhythm, if only for a micro-second. It's not an unfair task, but certainly adds additional challenge.

The beat goes on

Like trance itself, Pulse also has a tendency to be a bit dry.

The lack of visuals give the game a reserved character, while the fact much of the song remains hidden until the last minute means each level barely gets the chance to make its complete impression before it's over.

This is the result of a desire to do things differently though. In truth, the gameplay is far more Rez than it is Tap Tap Revenge, with the game forgoing any sense of the superficial and delivering an experience that requires the utmost concentration from beginning to end.

No doubt, this will leave many who attempt its challenge unmoved, but for those who are a touch more Tiesto than Take That, or lean towards Above & Beyond over Alphabeat, Pulse is the one and only rhythm that fits.

Pulse: The Game

Offering a different type of rhythm action, Pulse: The Game's stripped-back approach won't please all, but will leave dance enthusiasts wanting more