With the PSP's new PC Store open, figured it was worth checking out, putting through its paces. So I jumped on the Australian store, saw SCEE's Beats was on there, saw it was only $12.95 and decided to give it a try. Best decision I made all week. Really! Sony could do with a lot more PSP games that you download on the cheap that both generate and use your own content in-game.
Beats is by SCEE's London Studio. For reference, they're the SingStar guys. It's a simple little title, with two components: one lets you create, record and share your own tracks using a bare-bones music-making game, the other gives you a Bemani/Fantavision-style rhythm action game that's able to base itself on any music you've got saved on your memory stick.
The music maker's OK, if a little basic (you don't really make music, just queue it up), but the rhythm action part's great. Sure, the tech doesn't do the best job of timing the in-game beats to those in the song (in fact it misses more often than it hits), but if you'd told me a year ago I'd be playing a game like this - even a half-working one - to High on Fire or Johnny Cash I'd have slapped you and called you, sir, a liar. For the times it does all come together, it's worth it.
Other bells and whistles: the game's menu themes and in-game background are customisable, and you can record and share anything you make in the music-maker.
Final thoughts: yes, it's simple, but it's also cheap! And remember: since it uses your own mp3s, you can go ahead and make your own, free expansion packs for as long as your music collection holds out. The sooner Sony - and other PSP devs - can release more quirky stuff like this, which takes full advantage of both the platform's strengths (wi-fi, portability, personal media storage) as well as the new PC Store, the better the it'll be for the PSP.