Beat Sneak Bandit: A Puzzle Game With Rhythm

There are a ridiculous number of iPhone games available in the App Store and that number is growing faster than ever. What’s even more interesting is seeing what different and interesting things developers are doing with their games. The creativity of the developers keeps me coming back to explore new titles in the games category all the time.

Beat Sneak Bandit takes touch interaction up a level and combines audio and touch to create really interesting gameplay and something I hadn’t experienced before — It was just too different to avoid. Let’s explore Beat Sneak Bandit.

The Story

All of the world’s clocks have been stolen. This causes great turmoil and all of the evidence points to the Clockwork Mansion, the home of Duke Clockface (I know, who would have guessed?).

A brief slideshow filling you in on the situation.

A brief slideshow filling you in on the situation.

Duke Clockface may or may not (he denies the allegations) need all the clocks to construct a time-freeze device. The Beat Sneak Bandit and his pal Herbie are on the case to save the world and recover all the clocks.

Gameplay

I spend quite a bit of time browsing the App Store and while I’ll admit I don’t spend a ton of time playing games I have yet to find an application that utilizes the combination of sound and touch as does Beat Sneak Bandit. While it is fun and different, arguably it isn’t necessarily for everyone. Let me explain the mechanics of how the game is played and then we’ll talk about some specifics and you can judge for yourself.

Checking out a couple different levels.

Checking out a couple different levels.

On the Beat

As the name implies, a little rhythm goes a long way with this game. First, I’ll note that the game does require you to turn the sound on when firing it up. For obvious reasons it’s really difficult to play without sound. The beat that the game pulses out via its soundtrack is the mechanism for moving your character throughout the game.

Your character can only move on the beat and you tap anywhere on the screen to initiate a step. So essentially you’re stepping your way through each level. The beat is fairly quick so you can move quickly if you can keep up with the rhythm correctly. Turning can only be done when you reach some sort of obstacle. This little element raises the difficulty level significantly and will change the way in which you get through each level.

And a couple more levels.

And a couple more levels.

I like to think of myself as able to keep a beat quite well, but this game, with all its distractions (more on this later) did make me question my rhythm. If you need a little help to get your internal metronome back on the beat there’s a nice white button top-center of the display that pulses to the beat.

Obstacles

You’ll also encounter all sorts of obstacles as you progress through the chapters. You’re a bandit (but for good, of course) and you’re looking for the clocks Duke Clockface has stolen. Avoiding getting caught by his cameras, guards and other things while picking up clocks along the way is the name of the game.

Here you'll see some of the common obstacles.

Here you'll see some of the common obstacles.

The Puzzles

Beat Sneak Bandit is a puzzle game. It is level based and as you solve the puzzle on one level you unlock access to the next. Each level is grouped into a chapter. As you progress far enough you will unlock new chapters. It’s an extremely common mechanic.

The goal in the game is to recover as many clocks as possible. You’ll find five of them scattered throughout each level. One of the clocks will have a flag on it and that is the one that’s required to unlock the next level. It is possible to recover only the flagged clock to move to the next level, but the more other clocks you pick up the more quickly other levels and chapters will become unlocked.

Soundtrack

The rhythmic nature of the game is incorporated just about everywhere. All the elements are reacting to the beat of the soundtrack. The cameras turn on and off in rhythmic patters. The guards move back and forth and take their queues from the music as well. Even the spiders on the wall of the background bob up and down to the beat. The main title menu and chapter menus all have elements that move to the beat of the sound track. You’ll be subconsciously bobbing your head before you know it.

So not only is the game played by being in tune with the rhythm, the entire game is also connected to it. It makes patterns easier to pick up, but they do get continually more complex as the game wears on. So while everything moving to the tune of the background music does become helpful in a lot of situations, it also becomes this strange element of distraction.

The soundtrack is really the core element to the game and while it is obviously pretty repetitive it does change as you go along and isn’t as obnoxious to listen to as I was expecting. In fact, it’s kind of cool. It certainly has a game type feel to it, but it’s so connected to the game it sort of just melds right into the gameplay.

Conclusion

Beat Sneak Bandit is certainly one of the more interesting games I’ve ever played — not just on the iPhone, but anywhere for that matter. The connection of the soundtrack to the touch interface as the main gameplay makes for a really unique experience.

While the rhythm is used to help you solve puzzles and move throughout the levels it can be quite distracting. I found myself getting into “the zone” in my head where I felt right on with the beat, allowing me to cruise through entire levels. Then one little element would throw off my rhythm and then things became way more difficult. To me, the game is a constant ebb and flow like that. It moves from fun to frustrating and back again and I think that’s a great component in a game. Beat Sneak Bandit just does it in a little different way that the rest.

The game is incredibly fun, different and challenging, and at a $2.99 price tag I think quite worth it. If you’re searching for a puzzle game that is different from the rest, look no further.


Summary

A puzzle game with rhythm. Use the beat of the soundtrack to a navigate levels and solve the puzzles.

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