Harmonix Phase: The iPod's Guitar Hero
- Play along with any track in your iTunes music collection, it's Guitar Hero on your iPod!
- Not much tactile feedback or on-screen indication when you miss notes
The price of $US4.99 for Phase seems just right considering it's more of a music interaction experience than a complete game within itself. There are a few setup annoyances that suck, such as a necessary upgrade to iTunes 7.5 and syncing with the aforementioned playlist in iTunes. But everyone we handed the game off to really enjoyed their experience with it, so if you're looking for a little time killer on public transport and don't want to turn down the tunes, Phase is the perfect app. for you.
Price$ 4.99 (AUD)
Harmonix, the original developer of Guitar Hero and most recently known for its upcoming Rock Band, snuck out a tasty little treat for iPod owners this week. Available exclusively from the iTunes Music Store, phase is essentially a miniature Guitar Hero.
Phase: what is it?
Phase is an interactive music game that challenges you to tap out the beat of a song. The premise is simple and very similar to the "scrolling circles" gameplay made popular by Guitar Hero. As tracks on the iPod play, circles and sweeps/phrases -- swirl-y lines to follow with the iPod's touch wheel -- scroll toward you. Hit them correctly with the wheel and centre button and you'll earn increase your streak and earn more points.
Unlike Guitar Hero, each song is divided by checkpoints that function as phrases. You're judged on the fly by the familiar "star" rating -- more stars means a better performance -- at each checkpoint. Each phrase in a song has a specific star requirement that you'll need to reach to complete that phrase. Mess up and you lose one of four "life" hearts -- lose all your hearts and its game over.
Controls and gameplay
Phase runs on 5th-generation and newer iPods (including the new Nano and iPod Classic), but is incompatible with the iPod Touch because it lacks the essential click wheel for controls. We played Phase on a 5th-gen iPod with video, and overall, the controls work well. Because the left, centre and right buttons physically click, you get decent response while hitting each of the scrolling circles.
Of course, the click wheel was built for navigation, not games, so you don't get the precision of the Guitar Hero controller. But it does the job well enough, and it doesn't frustrate.
Phase has two game modes: Quick Spin and Marathon. The former is a one-song challenge and the latter increases difficulty through five songs. Three difficulty levels -- easy, medium and hard -- give the game a good range of play. Easy mode is your "laid back" style of play while hard mode offers enough challenge to piss you off from time to time.
For an iPod game, Phase is rather cool-looking with creative art design and rockin'/cutesy dancing characters and objects in the background. There are also multiple background themes to choose from. But what Phase doesn't have is that wonderful level of polish that music games like Guitar Hero do. There's not much tactile feedback or on-screen indication when you miss notes. The music does soften a bit when you miss a note, but at first we thought we somehow lowered the volume by accident.
Phase comes with its own soundtrack of seven songs (mostly indie bands), none of which are incredibly mind-blowing. But the beauty of the game is that it allows you to play along with any track in your iTunes music collection. And with that, Phase manages to do something that even Guitar Hero can't. It's an interesting, if small, first step to interaction with custom music and one that everyone universally wants in music simulation games.
To play along with your own music, you drag the songs you want to play to the automatically created Phase Music playlist in iTunes, sync with your iPod and you're ready to go.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Google Daydream VR headset
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Uber rejects claims it stole Waymo's self-driving car tech
- Microsoft Store has slashed the Asus ZenBook Flip's price by $200
- Google discloses unpatched IE vulnerability after Patch Tuesday delay
- FCC puts the brakes on ISP privacy rules it just passed in October
- Zenimax wants to block Oculus Rift headset sales, Gear VR games
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTFront End DeveloperQLD
- TPService Desk ManagerVIC
- TPBI & Report Developer (SQL Developer)QLD
- FTMicrosoft ProgrammerSA
- TPMobile DeveloperWA
- FTTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- FTSupport and Operations Team LeadNSW
- FTJava Developer - Fixed Term ContractQLD
- FTJunior Software Engineer - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 requiredSA
- CCSenior Networks Specialist - DNS PlatformVIC
- TPSolution Architect - Transport DomainVIC
- FTSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Technical Consultant - MicrosoftACT
- CCTest ManagerWA
- FTApplication Support Analyst/DeveloperNSW
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Systems AdministratorWA
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)Other
- FTSenior ITIL Service AnalystVIC
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperVIC
- CCMultiple System Engineers - Data Centre - TelcoVIC
- CCData Engineer (Java/ Data/ Big Data Developer)VIC
- FTEnterprise Account ManagerNSW