It has long been my belief that music is the closest thing we’ll ever get to true magic in the real world. Vibrations, clinging together to make a variety of beautiful tones. A wonderful, dangerous, powerful force in the world, able to manipulate emotion and lives beyond all explanation.
Hint – I like music. Hence I also like music games, but unfortunately I don’t actually like Beatbuddy: On Tour, and I have good reason for it – it shouldn’t be on PC.
But before I start criticising, Beatbuddy: On Tour is a rhythm action game of sorts, based on the lore and world of Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians. It’s absolutely, completely different from the game it shot off of in terms of gameplay. It follows the titular Beatbuddy as he travels across Symphonia performing in a variety of venues. As an expansion to the existing game, making use of the same assets and musical styles, I can see how it could have been a good idea in the drawing room even if it hasn’t translated well.
Gameplay translates roughly into a cursor-bases casual movement game, where you hover your cursor over a variety of things in order to activate them. The vast majority of targets are instruments; or at least carbon copies of the enemies from the first game, and stars; which you can collect to improve your overall score. Your speed is ranked by the time remaining on each individual point; as you get more points if the bar is still green, as opposed to if it hits the orange or red sections. It’s a good idea in theory, and whilst the execution isn’t too bad, there are definite issues with the way in which it looks are performs.
The aesthetic, whilst just as charming as it was in its predecessor, is completely unchanged. It feels like a classic cut/paste job, which adds nothing to the franchise nor outdoes other rhythm music games on PC, feeling shallow in comparison. If they had added new objects or even vaguely mixed up the looks of the title, well, it would have been acceptable, but at the price point (£4.99) it feels overwhelmingly like a cash-grab following the success of the original; which sits only two pounds pricier.
However, I would argue that, if released on mobile platforms, On Tour would have worked so, so much more effectively. The mouse interface is clunky and rather un-exciting, but if it were touch-compatible, with additional mechanics to fit that style, it would have felt much more interesting to say the least!
Even worse, the amount of content in the title is pretty underwhelming. Whilst I admit, I haven’t found the willpower to complete all available levels, it’s not a long experience whatsoever, with only 36 “levels”; in other words very short songs, across six “worlds,” unlocked sequentially. Granted, there are two additional difficulties to unlock, but then again I can’t see how that would make it value for money either.
The one redeeming feature of On Tour is the music itself. There are only seven tracks on the official soundtrack, (which scandalously you have to buy separately if you want to listen to it separately,) but they are all of high quality and pretty darn interesting; in fact, I’ve found myself listening to them in the car on the way to and from the supply teaching placements I’ve had recently. The mixes and composition of these tracks, and how the music seamlessly flows could have potentially carried the title if only there were more, with more variety, but alas, they don’t. However, on the bright side the music of the game and soundtrack have led me to look out for the artists involved and get into them, so that’s a positive at least.
I wish I could be nicer about Beatbuddy: On Tour, but the sheer fact is that apart from the pretty awesome aesthetic; blatantly asset-flipped from the first game, and the great selection of music from lesser-known artists, it just hasn’t got much going for it.
It’s a disappointment, and frankly would be much better on mobile. Sorry Beatbuddy, but you’re only getting 3/10 from me!