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Help Beat City find the music again in this unique music game.

Nintendo DS Review: Beat City

Since coming to Beat City, Dame Isolde Minor and her Cacophony Corporation have taken away all the life, color, and excitement. Help the city come back to life with music in this Nintendo DS exclusive.  You play the game by tapping, swiping, or holding the stylus on the touch screen to keep the beat. Even rhythmically challenged players can easily learn the three simple moves among the 20 mini-games in which players bring life to some funky mannequins, animals at the local zoo, rush hour traffic, an ice cream giving elephant, and the final showdown with Synchronizer and Groovy Whale going up against the depressing Dame.

The story's main protagonist, Synchronizer, begins as an ordinary citizen stuck in the Dame's rut until an alien, Groovy Whale, smacks a speaker in his head. Synchronizer gets the power to reinvigorate his fellow citizens and even find love with a girl named Beatrice. These three main characters battle through the monotonous antagonists that include the discord troops and monochromatic mime squads.

The sideways Nintendo DS gameplay orientation fits the tall, square-headed character art design very well. The game also offers orientation options for both right- and left-handed players. Sharp distinctions among colors and a high music volume help players pick up helpful cues among the high challenge mini-games and various challenges. The only major sour note is the lack of more frequent save options.  This would help players progress more easily amid some tough challenges. Players can always lower the difficulty setting, but younger, inexperienced players can still expect a long learning curve.

The main gameplay mode, “Beat Revolution,” features an exclusively visual introduction to each challenge. These comic book panel-style introductions are entertaining and usually very clear, so players can easily jump into each challenge. Each of said challenges is based on an 18-day calendar and explains the stylus actions at the beginning. Players can access the options to turn the short tutorial on or off. Players can also complete the main tutorial mode for even more help. The simplistic scores are based on a percentage of the correct movements made.

In short, scores higher than 80% also unlock items in the Beat Album which contains 22 total items. The better the score, the more unlockables appear as players progress through each unique city area. It would have been good to have a status screen/bar on the right showing the accumulated percentage or current progression, but the visual cues are usually enough as characters and other elements activate more items as players progress. This great Nintendo DS game is an excellent value at $19.99 and a title that anyone can pick up and play.

Beat City is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for comic mischief.


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