Sonar Beat Review
Life Zero Games tasks players with finding the beat while finding enemies in their new rhythm game Sonar Beat. Timing and a key ear are the key to succeed, but are they enough to draw people in?
Sonar Beat Review
Sonar Beat’s playing field is an interesting one, as it is a sonar radar. Broken up into three different sections, the sonar will gradually scan clockwise for threats. The player can then dispose of these threats through the use of the mouse. Blue circles require a press of the left mouse button, green circles must be held down, and purple circles require both mouse buttons be pressed down.
Sounds simple, right? However, the timing is fairly unforgiving. Those that are ever so slightly off will fail to dispose of the threat, dropping it down a ring and closer to the center. Fail to dispose of it a second time, and it thereby drops to the innermost circle. After that, damage is taken and the game is over if no shields remain.
The tricky thing is clicking in time with the beat. Unlike a button press or a tap, steadily clicking a mouse is cumbersome. When a flurry of multicolored circles stand between you and failure, along with rigid timing, it leads to a recipe for disaster. There’s just too much to contend with, and the lack of balance sticks out like a sore thumb. Note that controller support is available, and comes highly recommended for the optimal experience.
The dozen songs that make up the song list are a bit more atmospheric in nature – think more Boards of Canada than Bastille. Featuring names like “Sea Breeze,” “Adrift,” and “Afternoon Watch,” they’re inoffensive but do not linger in your head after the game is closed. Despite this, they do admittedly work well within the context of the game.
It’s just a shame that this title is so bare bones. Players are judged based off of destroyed enemies, their best chain, and a high score, but the amount of depth somebody would see in something like DJMax or Beatmania is noticeably absent. It ends up feeling more like an extended demo than a fully featured product, especially when considering its spartan stylings and small track count.
As of this writing, it is fairly buggy as well. Mouse inputs were not read at certain points, and our data was wiped from one of the updates the game went through. It is not the longest game around – it can be finished in one sitting – but it was still an unfortunate thing to happen that could have been prevented with more testing.
Sonar Beat tries something new with the rhythm game genre, but the small tracklist and spartan stylings do not leave a lasting impression. When paired with its somewhat buggy nature, you have yourself a project that could have used more time in development.
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