With music-based rhythm games, there are only so many ways the concept of timing button presses to a beat can be adapted. Nevertheless, every once and a while a new game finds a different approach to the concept, and thus comes a relatively new title by the name of ReRave for both the iPhone and iPad devices. Developed by Step Evolution, the game attempts to steer away from the vertically streaming lines of notes made popular by the Guitar Hero and RockBand franchises.
Combining both visual and audio cues, ReRave is a colorful game that forces the player to be more aware of the periodically appearing notes, tasking them with performing more than just singular taps. Interesting though it may be, and a refreshing design change, its visual style feels like it could compliment the game far more, and its monetization choices and associated pricing seem rather high, considering the musical content.
Like any other rhythm game, the point of ReRave is to time a button press with the beat of the music. However, with most of this genre, this consists of tapping icons as they stream down a vertical plane. Such is not the case here, as power-button-shaped icons appear randomly about the screen (sort of like Tap Tap Radiation for iPad) and the player must tap them as they turn from six o’clock to twelve o’clock.
Already, players are having to watch the entirety of the screen, not just one point, and must also be aware of the order of each icon appearance so that the taps can be timed correctly. Still, this is not terribly difficult; even on the hardest difficulty (though there are more chords, which are simultaneous taps). In order to make things more interesting, the game also includes actions called Holds, Omnitaps, and Follows.
Holds are the most basic, where the power icon appears with the text “hold” above it, and players must tap it when it turns to twelve o’clock, then hold it until it turns 360 degrees in the opposite direction. Not too hard. Omnitaps, on the other hand, are a bit more tricky. Initially appearing as a normal power icon, these rotate upwards with trailing shadows of the icon (namely the vertical line intersecting the circle). There might be one. There might be six. There might be more. Regardless, each must be tapped as it reaches the twelve position. In harder difficulties, these will often appear in tandem with one another, with their shadows moving on alternating beats.
Of all the new mechanics to ReRave, Omnitaps are among the hardest to hit correctly. In addition to these, however, players will also have have a icon accompanied with the text “follow” to contend with. With this, they must tap and hold, but the icon will then move along a randomly created track, changing directions in synch with the song. Players must follow the track with their finger.
Working like most other rhythm games, accuracy and timing increases one’s high score and missing too many “notes” will result in failure. With each song, players will receive a performance grade and have their score compared to other players based on the song and difficulty. In addition to this, players can also attempt to unlock a very high number of achievements; each of which can be shared on both Facebook and Twitter.
On the downside of things, the visual of ReRave leaves something to be desired. It’s bright and it’s colorful, but the “rave” vibe just doesn’t feel present. In a lot of cases, the effects feel a bit simplistic and more than this, some of the main user interface elements — namely the power button icons and the track that appears when a Follow command is present — feel more like they are placed atop the rest of the game, rather than being a part of it. Moreover, with games like Collision Effect and Infinity Field, user expectations for abstract visual design have been risen significantly.
More of a negative than this though, is the monetization methodology versus the content. ReRave costs $1.99 and comes with six songs (three must be downloaded through a free song pack, in-app). In order to get more, players must purchase song packs for $0.99 for two, or two other packs at $2.99 for five. Here’s the issue: Most songs in the game are decidedly short, and are not exactly from mainstream artists. There isn’t anything wrong with this, of course, as the music is still good, but it seems overly costly, as a whole.
To draw a parallel, the most recent version of Tap Tap Revenge is free to download. It also monetizes through in-app purchases of songs, but many of these come from popular, well-known artists such as Linkin Park or Katy Perry. Additionally, players can often get more songs for less money. A six pack of songs costs $2.99, while a pack of 50 “hit songs” costs $19.99 (there are a number of other options as well). Even the original Katy Perry Revenge is $4.99 with ten songs and the new version is free to download.
All in all, ReRave is an interesting take on the rhythm game genre and a refreshing change at that. It challenges both hand-eye coordination as well as audio acuity. All the same, while it looks alright, the visual still comes short of the potential seen in past reviewed games. More than this, the costs of the songs just seems too high when compared to mainstream competitors. Players are just paying more, relatively speaking, for lesser known artists. Again, the music isn’t bad, but users are less likely to buy songs they’ve never heard, for the same price, over songs they have.