Review: Technic Beat (PS2)

Technic Beat
Genre: Rhythm (puzzle)
Platform: PlayStation 2
Publisher: Mastiff
Developer: Arika
Release Date: 11-02-2004

Sometimes a guy is wandering through a video game store and notices a game that heâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s heard nothing about. Itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s cheap and has neat colors on the cover with some weird looking characters slathered on the front under its name. Most of the time people will just put that game back, thinking it must be cheap for a reason. This is not one of those times and Technic Beat is the name of the game.



MODES:

Since there really is no story, Technic Beat is all about the different modes of play. You have your basic 3 song normal mode, a basic 2 song mode, and a channel mode which gives you a set amount of songs that you cannot choose unlike the other 2 regular modes of play. There is sudden death mode that has you lose if you make one single mistake and a free play mode that lets you mess around with the songs. A training mode and challenge mode (allowing you to go through different tasks one by one) are there to help improve your Technic skills.

The real fun begins when you have 2 player games. You can either co-operate to try and â┚¬Å”solveâ┚¬Â all the songs you encounter or you can battle one another for Technic supremacy. This brings an added level of fun since the puzzles can be very hard and the addition of a competitor can make the hectic fun even better. All in all there is a good chunk of meat for your 20 dollars in Technic Beat.

Modes: 7.5



GRAPHICS:

The Sistine Chapel is a work of beauty, Technic Beat is a work of fun and bright colors that doesnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t come anywhere near Michealangoâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s workâ┚¬Â¦ more a Georgia Oâ┚¬â”žÂ¢Keefe with less thinly disguised vaginas. There are you requisite bright flashing colors, dark â┚¬Å”you screwed upâ┚¬Â colors but everything is awash in a pastel palate.

The visuals do the job, but they are secondary to the music and playability of Technic Beat. Just as in most rhythm games the visual side of the game is an afterthought. Most of the character designs are downright terrible, but a saving grace is Hassy, the dancing duck-billed platypus. Hassy wears the coolest snorkeling outfit and does his duck-billed dance that should delight even the darkest spirit. Aside from Hassy the cast is forgettable, but weâ┚¬â”žÂ¢re not really playing for the eye candy now, are we?

Graphics: 4.5



SOUND:

Every game in the rhythm genre has to have quality sound and Arika did their work quite well. Over 30 Namco games are represented in the 80 songs that are included in Technic Beat roster of songs. Music from Dig Dug, Dragon Spirit, Point Blank, Ridge Racer, Sky Kid, and The Tower of Daruga are among the pieces that made the cut. While no Tekken or other more console based Namco games are there the songs that are there are spiced up and remixed.

The puzzle based song section activation part of Technic Beat, you can really change up how some of the songs sound. From simple pitch change to melody shifts the songs can vary in small, but neat, ways based on the actions of the player.

The songs go from spartan to fully loaded audio extravaganzas but only occasionally have vocal parts to the song. That is okay as most songs are so catchy they will suck a player into listening while they should be paying attention to the beat markers. A very good game for people to listen to as someone else plays.

Sound: 8.5



CONTROLS:

Responsive and smooth are necessary to make a hybrid puzzle/rhythm action game work. Sometimes Technic Beat works, other times it does not but part of that is how difficult and overwhelming some of the songs puzzles can be at higher levels.

The control scheme takes a bit of time to become completely comfortable with and reading the manual to see what all you can do or going through the tutorial is necessary. Because of the way many song puzzles are set up without the knowledge of how to do what with your character can easily prevent a player from passing certain stages or getting full enjoyment from the game.

While the controls take some getting used to they are simple enough to figure out and the manual does a good job in telling you what does what with visual examples to boot.

Controls: 6



BALANCE:

Starting off nice and easy then becoming a frenetic nightmare of lights, music, and pastel could throw off veterans of rhythm games or puzzle games. Eventually you must learn to use every single technique shown in the tutorials and challenges to successfully complete the more challenging songs presented.

A problem is that sometimes the challenge becomes too overwhelming. The incline is gradual in some parts, Everest like in others. While this is expected, since an 8 star difficulty song had better be very difficult, the early songs do not do much to prepare a player for just how harrowing and frantic some songs can be. Even some 3 star songs become twitch fests that can have lesser players fraying around the edges.

Technic Beat can either lead you gently up the hill or shove you off the cliff and even after hours of playing a person may still get tripped up on a surprisingly difficult level 3 song.

Balance: 4



REPLAY ABILITY:

With over 80 songs, 2 sudden death modes, free play, 3 different kinds of single player action, challenge mode, and 2 player co-operative or competitive modes there is plenty to do in Technic Beat. This game can be a great party game or a single player test of skill. It requires very little investment, time wise, for a complete solo game (at most 12 minutes).

Though there is hardly anything to unlock the sheer weight of just how many game play choices you have more than makes up for the lack of tchokes, though the lack of those morsels may make completing the game less rewarding.

Replay Ability: 6.5



APPEAL:

Fans of rhythm games may balk at Technic Beat because it has puzzle elements while fans of puzzle games may take issue with some of the DDR like single player choices. The game has gone almost unnoticed by most people, released by Mastiff with less fanfare than a city announces that theyâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve had more sex offenders locate to their fair environs than any other place in the United States.

However, people who enjoy music games and people who enjoy puzzle games should try Technic Beat. Its low price point makes it a small investment and they could find a fun little game.

Appeal: 4



ORIGINALITY:

A game about taking rings that represents parts of a song and activating them while under pressure by more and more rings appearing trying to link them to create large chains while you control a weird looking robot, platypus, teddy bear, weird little boy, strange doll like girl, or freak with a keyboard on a toy box, cloud, CRT television, or swamp are about a dime a dozen in Bizarro world. However in this world Technic Beat is a fresh take on the usual â┚¬Å”Letâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s put music in a gameâ┚¬Â genre, a slight synthesis of the puzzle and rhythm worlds that should not be ignored.

Originality: 8



ADDICTIVENESS:

The music and the moving of your chosen character across the screen to successfully navigate a treacherous song can be like heroin for your hands. The short time investment and call of trying to get better at a song that is enjoyable draws a player in and can bring the â┚¬Å”just one more gameâ┚¬Â syndrome out in epidemic proportions.

Since the songs are around 2-3 minutes long they end just as you can really get into them, leaving you wanting more and more. This can end up leading to spending an hour or so playing. The ability to return to the game and play for less than half an hour or for an hour or so is a key to keeping a gamer happy.

Technic Beat is a fun game that will keep your fingers moving, toes tapping, and could cause seizures in little kids but that is just part of the fun.

Addictiveness: 7



MISCELLANEOUS:

There are certain extras that may only be unlocked when you complete certain tasks, but they are minimalist. There is a strange dancing game that is acquired with each character when you defeat normal mode that ends up being a fast pattern twitch fest. Oh, and you can look at one picture of each character and then use different color variations.

Miscellaneous: 4



RATINGS:

Modes/Story: 7.5
Graphics: 4.5
Sound: 8.5
Controls: 6
Balance: 4
Replay Ability: 6.5
Appeal: 4
Originality: 8
Addictiveness: 7
Miscellaneous: 4