Beats Fever Review
By Trenton Morgan
Platforms: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows MR
Beats Fever is a visual and musical ride of polygonal orbs flying at the user’s eyes. The game has simple mechanics, and it feels overwhelming and achievable at the same time. There are a lot of fantastic individual aspects included in the game’s great attention to detail. The scenes are beautiful and appropriate. The music is diverse and engaging. The layout is pleasing and symmetrical. These individual successes amount to a game that feels complete, but not necessarily a satisfying one. Without an overarching goal, it’s hard to feel like any accomplishment is a meaningful achievement.
The gameplay is really simple, and Arrowiz wanted it to be so. It is super easy to just strap on a headset and jam, but the gameplay didn’t seem to have weight. In game, the beats float toward the user, and the user really just has to hold the baton-esque cursors in the general direction. No extra effort is required, and extra effort often resulted in a lower score. The sensation of gameplay seemed reminiscent of vacuuming up water; it is fun, smooth and requires a lot of concentration, there just isn’t lasting satisfaction after finishing a track.
Beats Fever has an in-game score counter that follows a letter grade system. Other than that, the game doesn’t have any direction such as a campaign or story mode. The player is thrown into the menu, prompted with three practice bops of the wands, and then allowed to discover the interface without explanation. The interface includes many genres of songs on four levels. After selection, the player is transported to their location, plays, and then brought back. Sometimes, the cursor on the grading bar at the bottom of the interface appeared over a certain letter grade, but the final grade was a letter lower. Besides feeling cheated out of a letter grade a few times, the interface seems polished and functional.
The Oculus controllers worked well with the baton cursors in Beats Fever. There were a few glitches mid-game, but the screen readjusted and it wasn’t too bad of an inconvenience. The batons were pretty large, which made hitting the beats simple. The hard part was seeing all of the beats. The game’s location for users to stand is close enough that beats were completely out of peripherals at some points. That added a sort of challenge, but having limited space to move made it seem impractical sometimes. Still, the objects in game were extremely aware of the baton. If the slightest pixel of a baton touched an object in game, the object responded accordingly.
Furthermore, the graphics and scenes are stunning. The scenes include New York, Tokyo, Rio De Janeiro and London as well as iconic symbols from each vista. Fighting the urge to turn around and take in the view while beats are incoming makes for a great, emotionally-conflicting addition, and users won’t be punished for taking a few seconds to look around since there are no extreme penalties for missing beats. There is a fun, futuristic, neon-pop ambiance to the entire game. It has a nice balance between peaceful and cutting edge. The skies are realistic and set the mood of each scene, but there is enough contrast between the background and the gameplay that players know what to do. Overall, the visuals are high quality, and the entire game feels comprehensive and consistent. The comprehensiveness of the entire game is really what sells the immersion.
With good graphics and simple gameplay, Beats Fever is a fun time. It’s all just casual baton bopping and music. Even without a compelling purpose, it is easy to play through all of the songs and feel immersed. In the beautiful scenes and with a simple goal, there is no reason to feel disengaged, so boop and bop until the fever gets too high.
Visuals: 5/5 - The visuals are on point. All of the visual aspects fit together and transport players fully. The light flashes that occur with a bop or a streak are added bonuses.
Playability: 4/5 - “Beats Fever” isn’t a 104-degree temperature, but temperatures are up there. In other words, it is understandable to spend a lot of time on the game for fun, but players might not take off their headsets feeling accomplished.
User Interface: 4/5 - The user interface is straightforward, but it still would have been nice to have some form of tutorial. It is user friendly and amazingly responsive, which makes gameplay smooth. Users just may never know if they’re doing everything they’re supposed to be.
Replay Value: 4/5 - Without a driving force behind the game, the game can be played as often as a user wants to. Other than maybe getting the grade on each song, the songs are the challenge. So, if there is an interest in the song, there should be an interest in playing.
Overall Score: 4.5/5