[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.