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Review: Drums Challenge

Posted by on July 26th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Tags:

The minis platform has no shortage of space shooters and platformers. Rhythm games, however, are far and few between (I can’t remember any besides for Boom Beats). Drums Challenge is a Simon Says type of rhythm game, meaning the computer will bang out a beat in time that you are tasked to replicate a few seconds later. You’re given a drum set, and each piece is assigned to a different button on the PSP/DS3 controller. For example, the bass drum is hit by pressing the X button while the snare’s button is square. The 8 genres of music you’ll be drumming along to are Blues, Metal, Reggae, Jazz, Funk, Latin, Country, and Punk. Besides for the Jazz tunes, which seemed to me to lack an easily recognizable rhythm, the songs and their attached drum beats are good. The game includes a Career Mode and a Freestyle Mode.

In Career Mode, the bulk of the game, you go through each of the genres on Easy, Medium, and Hard difficulties. So that gives you a total of 24 songs (Math!), which is an ample amount of content for a $2.49 minis title. A medal is awarded on each song based on your performance. Gaining platinums on all of the Easy levels wasn’t too difficult, but once the game ramped up to Medium, I had to tap my foot in order to perfect some of the songs. Each genre of music has a character who challenges you each time you play a track. With the original developers being Brazilian and SanukGames being Thai/French, the characters spoke some funny quotes, such as Jimmy Leaf, the Reggae master, proclaiming, “Yu did great! Little more, braa!”

On the audio side of things, the game performs well. Each of the drum pieces sounds like it should, and the aural cues are helpful in keeping you on beat. There are also visual cues in the form of an animation every time a drum is hit, so it’s probably even possible to play the game without sound. Not that you’d want to, of course, but all of these seemingly little things help to make a rhythm game work correctly. The only problem I had is that if you hit the drums in too quick of a succession, they may not sound. For instance, I was trying to replicate the beat in Gold Digger in Freestyle Mode, but the opening bass drum barrage is a bit too fast for the game to register all of the noises. This only came up once during the campaign, and the aforementioned visual cues made it easy to get passed without being a problem.

The Freestyle Mode gives you a drum set and lets you go to town. You unlock pieces to the drum set by completing tracks in Campaign Mode. Eventually, nearly every button will drum something. I got to the point where moving the analogue nub struck a cowbell. Can you guess what song I played as soon as I figured unlocked the cowbell? Yeah, that’s the one. I actually found myself messing around in the Freestyle Mode for longer than I thought I would.

Drums Challenge is a solid rhythm game on the minis platform. The game packs enough content in it to warrant a $2.49 price tag. The Career Mode will take a few hours to complete, more if you go back and try to get platinum medals. The Freestyle Mode lets you drum to your heart’s desire. If there was an option to turn on a metronome or create loops I probably would have played even more, but I was surprised as how much time I dropped in the Freestyle garage. If you’re looking for a fun rhythm game on the go and don’t have access to the iOS version of this game, definitely check it out on minis.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Portable version of the game.

General Info

  • Jazz songs

  • Xavier Guerrero

    My freestyle mode has no sounds