While it may look like just another tap rhythm game for the iPad, Pulse: Volume One's concentric circles set the stage for a whimsical musical journey with limitless potential.
If Auditorium developer Cipher Prime has proven anything it's that they don't make your average music games, so at first I was taken aback by the seeming simplicity of Pulse. The player must touch dots that appear on a series of circles as an expanding pulse passes them in time with each level's music. It seemed like nothing more than a highly stylised Tap Tap title.
But as I progressed through the game's eight initial tracks, Cipher Prime's expertise at combining sound and play began to shine through. The dots began to sweep about the circles, dancing along to the delightful music of the developer's in-house composers, Dain Saint and Kerry Gilbert. Multitouch became a factor, requiring multiple simultaneous taps to punctuate the high points of the eclectic soundtrack. My nimble fingers became an integral part of the musical performance.
Outside of the music the interface is relatively bare, player choice limited to selecting one of the game's eight tracks. I'd love to see the ability to create a playlist included in future updates.
And there will be plenty of updates. Cipher Prime is planning on releasing four new tracks for Pulse every month, songs from Philadelphia independent artists, many created specifically for the game. Suddenly the game's $5.99 asking price doesn't seem quite as steep.
Pulse: Volume One surprised me. I was beginning to think the rhythm game genre was completely tapped out on the iPad. What a pleasant way to be proven wrong.
Pulse: Volume One [iTunes App Store]