[Video Game Review] [Music Games] VOEZ – Rayark’s beautiful FREE Anime music game on iOS & Android


[Video Game Review]
Music Game VOEZ for Mobile Devices
Rating: 5/5 Stars & Honorable Mention
Publisher: Rayark Games

VOEZ. The musical tapping game seeks to revolutionize music gaming and mobile gaming.

Previously known as Project V, earlier this week Taiwanese game company Rayark Games released their much anticipated project Voez. Many had been anticipating the game for the better part of this year. I just happened to browse through Apple’s iTunes Music / App store and the Editor’s Picks section was raving about the game. It looked good enough the pictures drew me in with beautiful artwork and graphics.

Essentially, this game is Tap Tap Revolution on crack, well actually more like TTR’s rich, sophisticated, too-cool-for-school cousin that everyone wants to be like. As mentioned in the video review above the game combines elements of DDR (Dance Dance Revolution; a game I used to compete in tournaments for), Beatmania (an offshoot of DDR; CRAZY popular throughout Japan and Asia), and Rock Band.

As soon as you open the game you can tell it is certainly made/influenced by Asian music arcade games. From the slick presentation, the opening anime movie sequence complete with soothing Engrish lyrics to the opening menu and tutorial the game feels too good (and professional) to be true, or free!

The best part of the game however is the gameplay and the music. While most music games, especially for mobile devices have simply cheesy original music or borrow a small helping of “real songs” that usually suck (I’m looking at you Tap Tap) all the songs in Voez feel like they were ripped straight out of Japan’s newest release of JuBeat or Beatmania IIDX, the artists have certainly put in work to create some truly stunning songs. Though most of the songs appeal to an audience that likes anime or has played Japanese music games before (much of the songs are in Chinese or Japanese, are dubstep or happy hardcore) the quality of the songs is so great you might like them even if you don’t like the style of music.

Better still, are the amazing graphics of the game. Everything feels crisp on the playscreen and because the screens are loaded all at once, even lower end devices can play the game fairly well. Like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, you are in command of lines of notes that scroll to a horizontal line at the bottom the screen. You tap the notes as they hit the bottom of the screen in time to the music, maintaining your combo and trying to do as best you can. As you tap the notes radiate a beautiful diamond shape in rainbow colors (if you were exactly on beat) or in gold if you were pretty close to exactly on time.

However, it’s not that simple. There are different note types, some you simply tap, others you must swipe (like unlocking your phone screen), some you must slide your finger across the screen and others you must “freeze” your fingers in place and slide them as well. Not only that, but on some songs (like my favorite “Refel” by Sakuzyo) the actual play grid will shift and move as bass drops hits or during dubstep bass womp rolls (like in “Flame Dark”).

The degree of technicality involved, and how precisely the notes appear, even in timing with the vocals of each song is impressive. Each time you play you want to do better and like most Asian music games, you feel an intense sense of accomplishment when you ‘full combo’ (FC) or perfect a song without missing a single note. The leaderboard is full of players from Asia and America who have FC’d every song. Not only that but your taps can be “Perfect Perfect” or “Perfect Good” meaning if you get more notes tapped exactly on beat even if you miss a few, your score will be higher than someone who full combo’d the song but was not quite as on beat as you. Getting better seems impossible but each time you play you get better as you learn where the notes fall and how the grid shifts.

Voez Review and Rating:

Graphics: 5/5 – Beautiful graphics that are hard to believe are in a free game. From the anime-inspired artwork, the Beatmania/DDR-esque song selection screen to the playboard, this game would fit right in in an arcade or on Xbox Live Arcade / Playstation Network.

Sound: 5/5 – From the menu selection to the songs, its all top notch. The songs are addictive and on iTunes for purchase. Best are “Flame Dark” “Platinum” “Keep You Safe” and “Refel”

Gameplay: 5/5 – The gameplay is addictive and easy to learn, but tough to master. You will find yourself looking for songs in your difficulty range to perfect, and each day you play you will do better and better, which feels great.

P2P/IAP 4.5/5 – While the song selection is very good, you start the game with maybe 1 or 2 songs. After a few rounds of play you unlock keys, which unlock songs but you can’t take them back. I unlocked a few songs I later regretted. Aside from the 2-3 the game gives you, you must buy the rest ($0.99 a song, $4.99 for 6, about $20 for 35 songs, etc.). I ended up buying about 8 songs. In fact, if you don’t buy any the game gets repetitive rather quickly

Summary: Overall, VOEZ is awesome game that should delight music fans, anime fans, or anyone looking to try something new. The game is both exciting and relaxing and is simply a joy to play. It is quite easy to lose an hour trying to best your scores or simply admiring the beauty that is this game.

 

 

 

[Video Games] Final Fantasy XII gets a Remake coming in 2017


[Video Game News]
Final Fantasy XII HD Remake

Square Enix announced yesterday they will be remaking the classic Playstation 2 RPG, Final Fantasy XII, for an HD remake (presumably for PS4, but it’s possible Xbox One and PC may also receive the game). This comes not long after Squeenix announced a few months ago that they would be remaking the legendary Final Fantasy VII.

While the Final Fantasy VII remake appears to be more a remake in spirit and visually (graphic-wise): the combat action has changed from turn-based RPG to action RPG much like Final Fantasy XV, we have yet to see how much Square will change for the XII remake. In the trailer it appears they left the loved and hated, Gambit system alone. Albeit it looks a little more exciting (attack combos?).

I played the original Final Fantasy XII on PS2 many years back. It was actually one of the last new games released for the Playstation 2 before it was retired and entirely replaced by the Playstation 3 and was in the last phase of games before production stopped for the system. I liked the game a lot. The characters felt new and rich. The storyline seemed interesting, the fighting system was kind of new and best of all there was a nice, hefty amount of voice acting (more than any other FF at the time, next to or maybe even more than Final Fantasy X).

Unfortunately, like Final Fantasy XIII (though for much different reasons) I stopped playing the game maybe halfway through it (at some temple level). FF12 suffered due to some issues with the Gambit system (kind of like programming the AI to execute certain moves but only in certain situations). The game to me felt like it was trying to be a more storied version of Final Fantasy XI: Online (a game I sunk thousands of hours into when I was younger, before World of Warcraft came out). The whole time I played XII I felt like I should be online, or see other people but alas it was not. Not only that but the music choices seemed poor and the team decided to have music play through a whole area, as opposed to music for battles, music for cutscenes, etc. making the soundtrack seem very boring.

The remake is touting a brand new soundtrack and possibly new battle system so maybe it will succeed in ways its predecessor failed. We will know in early 2017.

[Hip-Hop/Rap:] [Real Wavy] Miles Meraki – My Phone (w/Kasey Jones)


[Hip-Hop/Rap:]
Miles Meraki – My Phone (w/Kasey Jones)

Over a spacey-epic beat, the hard hitting “My Phone” from Miles Meraki is an energy-producing, yet mellow song strangely appropriate for the turn-up and the turn-down. The ghastly sounding synths coupled with the powerful, bumping bass create a shoulder and head bouncing under-the-radar trap-hit. Featuring backup from rapper Kasey Jones the two channel vibes of mainstream rappers, without all the mainstream cheesiness. Definitely worth checking out.

Check out more from Miles Meraki below:

Miles Meraki Soundcloud
Miles Meraki Twitter

[EDM & Hip-Hop] [Trap EDM/Rap:] Mike Fresh & Quavo – Soul Food (Hydrabadd Remix) // [Unsigned Hype] [Underground Rap:] RealWillHill – Fix You Need (feat. Zip K & Seiko)


[EDM Origins]
Mike Fresh & Quavo – Soul Food (Hydrabadd Remix)

Our EDM Origins picks for today highlight some groundbreaking songs in the genres of trap, future bass and house that really pioneered around 2012 and more thoroughly permeated the scene by 2015.

Georgia producers and DJ duo, Hydrabadd’s remix of Mike Fresh and Quavo (of Migos fame)’s “Soul Food” is a trap-heavy, head banging mix full of futuristic synths and raw street rap. The booming, unrelenting bass and dance-ready BPM of the remix make for quite the club banger and a certainly respectable track on its own.

If anything, trap EDM has been a movement for years now, but its fusion with future house music really began to soar after smash disc-jockey, DJ Snake released “Turn Down for What” and his remix of AlunaGeorge, “You Know You Like It (DJ Snake Remix)” which became heavy hits in the music world. Other artists credited with pioneering and furthering the Future House movement include TchamiRustie, Minnesota, Village, Kaytranada, and marshmello among many others.


[Hip-Hop] [Unsigned Hype & Underground]

RealWillHill – Fix You Need (feat. Zip K & Seiko) [prod. FR23SH]

Our second post is a smooth ride on the waves of underground hip-hop sounds and flows. Producer RealWillHill’s “Fix You Need” featuring Zip K & Seiko is a pleasant joyride of authentic rap flavor. The saxophone riffs serve to complement the lackadaisical, yet determined to make you move feelings of the song.

Be sure to check out more from RealWillHill and the other artists below:

RealWIllHill Soundcloud:

[Rap & Trap Music] 21 Savage – Lord Forgive & Mind Yo Business


21 Savage’s “Slaughter King” is a steady progression of hard, dark trap beats and street lyrics that goes above and beyond its genre cliches.

[Rap & Hip-Hop] [RTS: Real Trap Sh*t]
21 Savage – Lord Forgive (prod. by Fukk 12)

21 Savage – Mind Yo Business

More from 21 Savage

If you’re not familiar with current Atlanta trap music “slaughter king,” 21 Savage shame on you…and me. I was not either until a few months ago back in early Spring. As an old head (or maybe slowly becoming an old fart), I had stopped following this generation of “trap” hip-hop after Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” and similar songs dominated airwaves in the past year or two. Of course, here and there I’d hear a song I liked, mostly off of the radio, but I’ve always identified more with “trap” music of the early to mid 2000s (think Gucci ManeT.I., Lil’ Boosie, Cam’Ron and a host of long fizzled out local ATL groups, like Crime Mob or D4L.

While recently chillin’ with some young bucks in the ATL streets, they did not hesitate to introduce me to the budding rapper. Just as I was with dubstep, trap EDM and IDM music, I did not immediately embrace this new type of music shown to be by friends. Especially as it seemed so braggadocious and over-laden with swag flexing, I initially could not take it seriously. Over time however, I began to hear of Savage more and decided to give his mixtape a listen. What could it hurt, right? Turns out I was glad I did.

I may not fully identify with Slaughter Gang, Chiraq Boys, or this young people’s generation of trapping, drug-dealing, “runnin’ up in them bandos”, pulling heists or other actions that might declare one as hard, but I can identify when music is bumpin’ as fuck (excuse my language, it is necessary here).

Slaughter King: Rating (4.5 out of 5 stars)

21 Savage’s “Slaughter King” is a solid tape full of hard, trap beats and lyrics that actually go above and beyond what I would expect from another trap rapper from ATL’s hoods to come up with. Not to say these rappers or this type of music isn’t ever witty or creative, but as is the problem in many genres (my god, like dubstep) after some time you realize a LOT of it sounds the same.

Thankfully, Savage switches it up with clever lyrics, original if not downright catchy ad-libs (21, 21, 21!!) and hooks. Two of my favorites so far off his December mixtape include “Lord Forgive”: the reflective, but very deep opening trap banger with Savage reminiscing on his come up in the rap game and in urban street life in general. For whatever reason, the instrumental ( masterfully produced by Fukk 12) makes me feel very nostalgic, but also very contemplative. The song definitely immediately feels heavy and while listening to it, as one YouTube commenter put it, “[you] can feel Savage’s pain on the track,” which comes across as sincere and certifiably street.

“MInd Yo Business” is probably one of the catchiest on the tape with a repeating hook (“Mind yo bidness b*tch”) over a similarly hard beat. The track is far more active compared to “Lord Forgive” and is already a favorite among many. There are many other standouts on the mixtape, “Deserve,” “No Peace” and very few boring or even similar sounding songs, save for one or two. Even on those tracks Savage still manages to make them entertaining.

Do yourself a favor (if you’re not an original/true fan of this genre of rap): suspend your judgement and how much you identify with gangsters and hood stars, or even the killers (as Desiigner’s “Panda” would like you to do) and simply enjoy and appreciate the power and feeling behind these trap-heavy numbers. You might be glad you did! Also in similar style of rap, also from Atlanta was Bankoll Fresh who has many now classic releases, following his tragic death in a shooting in March 2016.

 

[R&B EDM Remixes] Mario Winans – I Don’t Wanna Know (Zoo#Clique Edit) // Destiny’s Child – Say My Name (Synthetic Epiphany Remix)


[R&B EDM Remixes] [Deep House/R&B]
Mario Winans – I Don’t Wanna Know (Zoo#Clique Edit)

Today, we’ve got two great EDM remixes of two very classic R&B tunes that are a throwback to early ’00s rhythm and blues music.

First up, a chill down-tempo, but still massive remix of Mario Winans “I Don’t Wanna Know” coming to us from CDeep Music’s Youtube Channel. The Zoo#Clique Remix expounds on the original adding layers of atmospheric deep ambient house, clublike basslines and rhythms and slowed vocals. This remix certainly does the original justice retaining most of the elements from the original, save for the stupidly sick sample of The Fugees “Ready or Not,” but that’s forgivable. Nevertheless, don’t miss out on this awesome track and summer 2016 ambient-chill banger! Download it for free!


[Ambient Future R&B]
Destiny’s Child – Say My Name (Synthetic Epiphany Remix)

Next, from the legendary R&B trio Destiny’s Child comes an epic remix of one of their most well known and popular single’s “Say My Name.” Destiny’s Child and its individual members are no strangers to remixes (especially of the electronic variety; check out a few under this post). The Synthetic Epiphany Remix re-imagines the R&B bopping anthem as a chill house club single that’ll round off nights with its building layers of ambiance, future sounds and throwback nostalgia.

Other notable Destiny’s Child Electronic Remixes:

[Progressive House]
Michelle Williams – We Break the Dawn (Karmatronic Remix)


[Dance House]
Beyonce – Greenlight (Freemasons Remix)

[Hip-Hop/Rap] [Trap] Dougie F – On Right Now


[Hip-Hop/Rap] [Real Trap]
Dougie F – On Right Now (Produced by Dez Wright)


I’m so faded man, my feet off the ground,
I swear, I’m the man in my town
Everywhere I go they stop and stare me down,
Everywhere I go they stop and stare me down!

Sorry for being a little late posting this as I’ve been busy. New Jersey rapper Dougie F’s “On Right Now,” is a shining example of why we shouldn’t give up on today’s generation of rap. With a heavy trap beat, catchy snares and hooks, and an overall dark, heavy feel, that still comes across as party rap. Impressive.

Also featured are semi-freestyled lyrics that…*gasp actually make sense. Okay, so they might not be Nas or Tech N9ne bars, but Dougie’s realness is certainly perceivable, and far above most current radio rap. If nothing else the song sounds great and you can tell Dougie had a good time recording it; all elements that make up good music.

Check out more from Dougie F on his social media sites:

Soundcloud

Facebook

Website

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