Game Review: ‘Beat Sneak Bandit’ has a past rhythm
The appearance of the Beat Sneak Bandit is inspired by the work of Saul Bass, whose style is synonymous with the beatnik era.
For most of the past decade, music video games like rock bands and guitar heroes have enabled millions of aspiring rock musicians to realize their star dreams, wielding fake instruments and imitating their favorite music icons. Jamin Warren, founder of killscreendaily.com, said the iPhone and iPad inspired game designers to reimagine music games.
Beat Sneak Bandit allows players to hit the ball at the rhythm of different drummers. The creators are Swedish duo artist Simon Flesser and programmer Gordon Gardeback, inspired by James Brown’s “Cold Sweat”. The result is jazzy, hepcat overtones, sharp art style and lots of fun.
The game is very simple. Your mission is to retrieve the stolen timer from the insidious Duke Clockface, but only through the beat to beat his castle. Each level has a different song to match the mood. Place a tiny metronome at the top of the screen to help you keep your time.
The robber can only move when the rhythm touches the screen. (Fortunately, half a step is allowed.) If you are not synchronized, the robber will be frozen and vulnerable to attacks by guards, searchlights and flying robot drones.
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Art directors are impeccable and pay tribute to Saul Bass’ geometric, optimistic work. You may know that Bass is best suited to make posters for Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller Vertigo, and Bass’s trademark style is synonymous with the beatnik era. Beat Sneak Bandit chose Bass to leave the blacks of Bandit’s bandana’s crimson and villain mansions.
The entire score is pieced together from a CD full of music samples. Then, Flesser used the old music editing program of the 90s to piece together the final product. He told me that the mathematical nature of music made it easy for him to create every level, even as a novice music producer.
However, the fascinating saxophone tone hides complex gameplay behind it. The level looks simple because there are only four floors per floor for you to pass through.
But the robber can only move one direction at a time, and still have to keep the rhythm. Found yourself in a security dilemma? so terrible. One-way entry means that players must plan their route accordingly and think quickly under pressure. There are several levels that require you to go back to your footprint multiple times to collect each clock.
Flesser and Gardeback’s studio, called Simogo, is part of a long tradition of using music to create new games. For decades, rhythm games have been the mainstay of Japanese malls, and in 1996, PaRappa allowed players to press the button to sing words, which is a hot topic for Sony PlayStation.
But unlike the music and gaming eras of recent rock bands that demand dexterity and speed, the Beat Sneak Bandit only requires precision. This game is perfect for young children who want to play drums one day, or like me to find adults who have reason to tap their fingers.