Two things you need to play pulse: One – a decent sense of rhythm, and two – a love of techno!…
There are a raft of rhythm games on the AppStore, and most follow the tried and tested RockBand/Guitar Hero formula of hitting coloured notes as they fall towards you. Pulse differs in that it’s all about samples instead of notes.
You are presented with a central horizontal line with circles on it representing beats. Above and below this line are blank lines, each representing a different sample in that track. As the track begins, a line starts to run up and down the lines in a wave formation, passing through the circled beats on the middle line as it progresses. It’s up to you to tap the screen at the moment the wavy line crosses the circles. If you successfully keep to the beat then the wavy line jumps to higher lines. It is on these lines you must activate the samples. [Are you with me so far?]
To do this you must tap with two fingers the moment the wave line crosses, or nears, one of the sample lines. If successful you will lock onto the sample line and the game will show you a sequence which you must tap out exactly, much like the game ‘Simon Says’. Again, if you are successful you will activate the sample of the track, which will begin to loop in the background and add to other samples you have activated. The object of the the game is to unlock all the samples in a level to build the final track, before you can move onto the next.
As you have no doubt sussed, the game isn’t easy to get to grips with, but if you are patient, it will all come together. You’ll soon be sailing through the first few levels. And just as it becomes all to easy, the game throws in some skill requirement into the mix. You see, later levels require not only for the level before it to be completed, but also to be completed to a set score. As you activate a sample you earn points, but to really score big you need to use the basic tapping to the beat element of the game to build up score multipliers, before locking onto a sample line. Do this and you score can increase by up to 8X. A Facebook connect function lets you boast your scores with your friends… should they own the game of course!
Later levels not only require a high score, but also get faster to boot. Each sample line doesn’t play indefinitely, instead after a while it loses power, this is represented by a red line, and should that line disappear, that sample will cease to play. This affects not only the track, but the height and other sample lines that your wavy line can reach. So, every so often you must power up your sample lines to keep the track moving, while you also try and access the next sample. It’s a bit like plate spinning, getting them all to spin without one falling off.
The game then can get pretty challenging, however, just as it does it’s all over, as the game only includes 6 levels/tracks to complete. Also, once you do complete them, you don’t get long to enjoy the full track, instead you have the option to purchase the song on iTunes. This gives the game more than a whiff of promotional tie-in than a standalone gaming experience.
Still at $2.99 it is an intense and challenging music experience. It has a great modern neon design style to it, and of course the aural quality is top notch, particularly through headphones. So, if you are into European dance music, and have enjoyed games such as Tap Tap Dance, Auditorium and Riddim Ribbon, then you just might want to give Pulse: The Game a shot.
Pulse: The Game is out now on iPhone and iPod Touch for $2.99 (get it from )