REVIEW: Magical Beat

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

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Magical Beat | oprainfall
Title Magical Beat
Developer ARC System Works
Publisher ARC System Works
Release Date June 17, 2014
Genre Puzzle
Platform Vita
Age Rating ESRB – Everyone
Official Website

When I first saw Magical Beat, I did not really know what to make of it. I mean, a rhythm puzzle game — that alone is pretty interesting. Throw in some vocaloid music, and they very much had my attention. In fact, the soundtrack was created by Nico Nico celebrity and prolific sound creator Kikuo. So, let’s see how my musical rhythm-filled puzzle adventure turned out.

I love the graphical style of this game. Classic 8-bit characters and backgrounds give it a great amount of charm. There are 13 different 8-bit characters from which to choose. I don’t think it matters which one you choose gameplay-wise, but they are still really nicely done avatars. Arc System Works is planning additional characters as DLC. These will include characters from BlazBlue, as well as other Arc System Works titles.

Magical Beat | Look at Them Blocks

The game basically plays out like your typical battle mode in these “drop the blocks” style puzzle games. You will make colored blocks which are called “Beatons,” match three in a row and they will disappear. The more you remove and the bigger the combo, the higher the score. Score high enough, and it will drop metal blocks or “Jammer Beatons” on you opponent’s side. Sounds like every other puzzle game like this you’ve played, right? Well, here’s the catch; you have to drop them to the beat of the music. There is a blue bar in the middle of screen with a cursor running up and down it. You want to drop you Beatons while the cursor is in this blue bar. The screen will gently light and thump in beat with the song to help you keep time, as well. If you fail to drop the Beatons in the correct time, they will break apart and scatter and you have no idea where they will end up.

There are a few different play modes from which to choose. First is Beginner — five rounds which allows you to continue even if you lose. Next is Normal Battle — 10 rounds and continues are allowed in this mode. Hell Battle has 10 rounds of pure hell — are you tough enough, because I’m not! The last mode is a custom battle — you can pick whichever song and difficulty you would like. The game does feature two-player games via Ad Hoc Mode, which is OK, I guess, but I really wish it had some online play.

Magical Beat | Track Selection

The music and sound effects are both excellent, the sound effects sound like they came out your favorite arcade puzzle game. They aren’t really new or cutting edge but they fit in perfectly. The soundtrack itself is just plain fun to listen to. Kikuo has mixed a very great vocaloid soundtrack that has many styles from slower, easier songs to fast songs that will stress you to very max. Each track is well crafted and a joy to listen to. There is a Sound Test Mode in the Options menu if you just want to jam out to the tunes.

I had a lot of fun with this title. It has a very addictive nature, but, be warned, this one is not easy. The CPU is a ruthless killer that will take you down in a second, even on Easy. I can see myself putting tons more hours into this with the upcoming DLC tracks from the other Arc System Works titles. You can complete any of the play modes in about an hour, but you will want to play them over and over to get a better score. The only real complaint I have is no online play cuts out some replay value, but if you are a fan of puzzle and rhythm games, for $9.99, I don’t really see how you can go wrong with this.

Review Score

Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. 

About Steve Baltimore

Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.