VidRhythm isn't a game per se; it's an app that allows users to quickly assemble custom-made music videos. But given that it's made by Harmonix, the creators of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, we're gonna go ahead and call it a game just so we can write about it.
One of my favourite things about the Rock Band games was how it allowed musicians and non-musicians alike to share music in a new way. There was nothing quite like sitting down with my non-musician friends and sharing music in a new way. VidRhythm offers an evolution of that same inclusive spirit, and opens musical performance up to an ever greater audience.
One of the great strengths of portable devices like the iPhone and iPad is their portability and accessibility, and the ways they bring people together — it's all well and good to play Cannabalt or Gravity Hook by yourself on the bus, but sitting down with a friend for a match of Ascension or a versus-mode Plants vs. Zombies is a whole other kind of fun. And while that big Rock Band drum kit eventually became too much of a hassle to cart out, an iPhone is always within reach, and so too is VidRhythm.
The audio plug-ins that VidRhythm uses to bend and twist your out-of-tune singing into recognisable melodies can go overboard from time to time, but that winds up being part of the fun. There's nothing quite like carefully recording a vocal take only to hear playback that sounds like a kazoo orchestra accompanied by a sack of flaming chipmunks.
Re-editing samples and sharing finished videos couldn't be easier, and the general experience of using the app is wonderfully seamless. In fact, VidRhythm's biggest triumph is how quickly it gets out of the way of its users' creativity.
Harmonix assures us that in the Rock Band Network tradition, the app will be supporting user-generated content in the future, which will allow fans to make new song templates of their own. No doubt the available song library will expand far beyond those initial 20 songs.
Even without those plans for future expansion, VidRhythm remains a goofy good time, and a great excuse to break out your iPad or iPhone at parties. It's absolutely worth its $US1.99 asking price, and is one of the more refreshingly bizarre, apps I've had the pleasure of using.
VidRhythm is now available on the iTunes store for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch w/ camera, and the iPad 2.
VidRhythm [iTunes App Store]