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Mr Granstaff

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"Get up and make stuff 'splode!"Permalink
Since I was fortunate to receive a review code for Beatsplosion for Kinect, let me take a stab at my editorial skills for a change. I've been known to destroy with words, so I'll be gentle.

Actually, this may come as a shock to some, but I actually have more good things to say than bad. To start off with, let's go with a description of the game followed by a history lesson:


Beatsplosion uses Kinect for Xbox One to transport players into the crazy world of subatomic particles in search of a Unified Field Theory – by smashing everything into smithereens. Players will punch particles, dodge walls and jump over obstacles, all to the beat of music.

Beatsplosion started out as a game about smashing stuff. Because, well, who doesn't like smashing stuff? The first key idea was to have satisfying physical reactions. When you hit a crystal pillar, it 'splodes into tiny fragments that fly out based on your hand's motion - upward, downward, forward, any direction you like. The harder you hit, the more they scatter! Every punch is unique, every crystal responds exactly to your hits. The next step was adding music so you weren't just punching randomly, you were doing it in time to a beat. At higher tempos, things started to get rather sweat-inducing. That's when it all clicked together: a rhythm game about smashing stuff where you get a great workout almost by accident. And did we mention the smashing yet?

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Here's a few other fun facts:

Earn higher skill belts to unlock new levels that challenge your rhythm and coordination. Get your sweat on as the tempo increases, and pit yourself against the epic black belt challenge at a blazing speed of 200 bpm!

+ Rhythm and exercise game with Virtual Air Guitar's signature Kinect control

+ Punch particles in time to the beat! Dodge walls, jump over obstacles!

+ Satisfying physical reactions - crystals 'splode just the way you hit them!

+ Earn all 5 skill belts: tempos from 130 to 180 bpm, each with a variety of challenging levels! Insane black belt challenge at 200 bpm!

+ Designed for daily exercise: 3-minute levels, 20-minute challenges, weekly play time tracker!

+ Use leaderboards to see who's the top ninja!
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With that out of the way, here's my experiences with the game. You start off with a tutorial and shows you the jest of the game. You're an atomic space ninja on a hovering UFO with fists smashing these crystals because… uh… it's just the cool thing to do. Plus, you can't go wrong with ninjas in my book!

I do wish the tutorial explained how to swipe specific crystals because when I first approached a certain crystal formation, I was stumped initially. It's easy enough to adapt and figure it out that all you need to do is swipe your hand over the set of crystals, but would have been nice to have known that beforehand, nonetheless.

Anyway, right off the bat, I noticed the tracking is phenomenal, so you could tell some care went into the development of this game. While I'm obviously a big supporter of Kinect, I will admit that some games just doesn't track well. However, I had minimal issues with this game's tracking. It failed to pick me up jumping at first, but my Kinect needed to be calibrated, so that was on me. Ever since then, the tracking worked flawlessly. No joke.

After the tutorial, you start off at White Belt and then progress through traditional belt levels in martial arts: White, Yellow, Green, Purple, Red, and ending with Black.

When you complete each world, should you meet the requirements, you unlock an additional two levels: Random Patterns and a 20-minute challenge.

While I would have enjoyed the 20-minute challenge to be continuous since the game actually breaks it up between 3-minute intervals six times, but then again, I'm always wanting a challenge. The Random Patterns level was done well though as each level was never the same.

Plus, you can't really fail a level either. I have mixed feelings with this as one part of me would have liked the focus to be more geared towards skill. If you don't smash enough crystals, you don't progress until you get better, but then again, the main focus is getting a good workout, so the game meets expectations there.

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If there's one thing that's important to me, it's how a game evolves throughout and this game did an excellent job of that. It starts off with a slow tempo, with a manageable pattern to follow while you're at white belt status, but it turns into full blown "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" crazy when you reach that black belt insane challenge. laugh

The environment is simple, but does enough to immerse yourself into the game, making you feel like the Beat Ninja itself. And, have I mentioned how awesome it felt to smash crystals? Too bad I couldn't put specific faces on some of those crystals and watch them explode into tiny bits! wink

While I would have loved for the game to implement one or two more variations of crystals or platforms to dodge, there's enough obstacles to keep you wanting more and have you guessing what pattern is coming up next. Personally, I loved the "One, Two" pattern as that did a good job mimicking the movements whenever I do pad work with my boxing gloves. I always seemed to received a 100% too! Go figure, huh?

I'm probably not the best person to listen to when it comes to music, but I quickly found myself punching to the beat, which was quite addicting. Having a rhythm to follow made it easier to get into the zone and into doing all of those movements/punches without really paying attention.

Usually during the halfway point of each 3-minute level, there's a bonus you can get. Basically, you have to smash this huge boulder before you reach the next segment. Good change of pace, so I thought that was implemented nicely.

And, while the game shouldn't take you no longer than 8 hours to get through everything -- both Easy and Expert levels separately -- it wouldn't be surprising to catch yourself coming back for more to build up a quick sweat.

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Before I wrap this up, let's touch base with the achievements because who doesn't like achievements?

That's what I thought.

Anyway, the achievements are all fairly manageable. There could be two or three that might be a little difficult, but I personally didn't have any issues with them. Then again, if I may toot my own horn, I'm not your average bear.

As I said earlier though, you really can't fail any levels, so you'll eventually complete this game, it'll just take you longer to do so if you perform poorly.

Should you decide to take a shortcut and start off on Expert difficulty, you could theoretically complete this game in a few hours. Unfortunately, my tracked playtime is off since I ate dinner and watched some TV while leaving the game idling, so my 5 hours isn't as accurate as I would like it to be.

Other than that, most achievements should be unlocked naturally, besides the few you could have some trouble with. My personal favorite was:
Beatsplosion for KinectSingle-HandedThe Single-Handed achievement in Beatsplosion for Kinect worth 100 pointsComplete any pattern at Yellow Belt or higher with a rating of 90% or higher using only one hand.

That achievement was one of the more creative ones, so kudos there.

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Ultimately, you get good value for the money you'll spend on this game. From the same developer, there's a good bundle going on right now too:

Kinect Bundle: Squid Hero + Boom Ball - $8.99

To summarize this game, it's a good workout with solid gameplay. Keep in mind that my views of this game is by factoring in that the scope of Beatsplosion isn’t on the same scale with the Halo series, but neither is the price.

With that in mind, if you want a great way to work out without it feeling like a work out, then this is a great candidate to do just that. It won't be as strenuous as Xbox Fitness or Shape Up, but it's a good alternative.

You'll also get a quick bump in GS too!

I'm hoping they consider doing more combat-oriented stuff in the future because the model with the overgrown fists would be excellent for a boxing game.

I’d have liked for them to have added kicks as well, but after asking the developer this, I agree with their decision not to: "doing that in a way that wouldn’t have been just a tacked-on gimmick would have increased the production time and budget and resulted in a higher retail price. Something to consider for the sequel though!"

Let's hope that can expand on that because that would just be fantastic.

All in all, I give this game a 4/5 rating.

One could argue that I don't have much to compare it to (and I don't), but with the game's sole purpose of being a workout that's fun, it does the job and does it well (if you do it right). It's basically a game that has elements of rhythm, combat and exercise -- all combined together in a unique way I've never experienced before.

Think exercise is boring? Tell it to the Beat Ninja! Coming December 30!
Wait. That's tomorrow!
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 29 December 15 at 20:55 | Last edited on 30 December 15 at 04:06

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Sven0330 If I ever wonder why you are in so much better shape and have more muscles than I do, I need to look no further than this blog. Glad to hear you enjoyed the game though smile

As for a model with overgrown fists, I know it is Nintendo owned, but I want another Punch Out...
Posted by Sven0330 on 29 Dec 15 at 22:04
Jblacq Since you like Kinect games, have you tried Baller Beats?
Posted by Jblacq on 30 Dec 15 at 00:13
Mr Granstaff @ Sven0330 - Ha! You're far too kind, my friend. I've only been maintaining lately, but I plan to knock it up a notch next week/year.

Anyway, the game was made really well. Fun little title. Can't go wrong smashing stuff and have it go "boom" later on. :)

That's amazing. I thought about Punch-Out as well. Such a wonderful game with a ton of good memories to be had. I often refer to that as my lifetime achievement. Maybe 20 years later, I finally beat Mike Tyson. The trick was to double tap the left or right to dodge more quickly. I didn't understand that back then.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 30 Dec 15 at 04:14
Mr Granstaff @ Jblacq - I do own it! I just want to do a bit more cleanup first before I devote myself to that game. Something tells me it's not something I can just pick up and go whenever I want to play and expect to be good at it. I am a white guy after all that can't jump all that high either. :P
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 30 Dec 15 at 04:16
MathGuy42 Thanks for the review. I'll definitely pick it up when it goes on sale. How do you feel about the $13 price point, which you may not have known at the time of your review?

I just bought the Kinect Bundle, even though I already owned Boom Ball for Kinect . I was disappointed that Squid Hero for Kinect wasn't on sale by itself, but then I realized I was quibbling over $2.50. smile

You've probably noticed that Commander Cherry for Kinect is also on sale. However, the reviews are so dire, I'm staying away.

Happy New Year!
Posted by MathGuy42 on 31 Dec 15 at 15:24
Mr Granstaff @ MathGuy42 - You're welcome, Dennis. Thanks for the question.

Hm. I suppose I may not be the best person to ask this to because I'm frugal. laugh I think if you're wanting a good and fun way to exercise, then this will give you loads of replay value. If you only want to play the "story" part of the game, then you probably won't get your money's worth as it's quite short.

I did notice Commander Cherry was on sale. I have seen the poor reviews, but it's Kinect. I can't turn that down! :) Hopefully the game will produce a neat experience and works as intended. I try to pride myself as having one of the better gaming environments for Kinect, so I typically don't run into many tracking issues.

I did complete Steel Battalion after all and that game's tracking was supposedly atrocious. wink

And, happy new year to you as well!
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 31 Dec 15 at 18:50
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