A combination rhythm, puzzle and strategy game, Beat Sneak Bandit has more frustrations than rewards. I can’t deny I was obsessed with 100%ing certain levels, but that was more out of anger than pride.

The evil Duke Clockface has stolen all the world’s clocks, and only Beat Sneak Bandit can steal them back. You move the Bandit by tapping on the screen in rhythm to the music. Collect the clocks while avoiding obstacles like trapdoors, searchlights, security guards, vacuum bots and more.

Seems like a fun idea, right? In theory, yes, but in execution it’s so annoying. Tapping in rhythm should be easy, but whenever the game thinks you’ve fallen off rhythm, it freezes you until you can get back on. I know this is the whole hook of the game, but I feel it’s too sensitive and reduces skill to luck. And that throbbing, beating icon at top is no help.

The strategy comes in analyzing the patterns of trapdoors opening and closing, searchlights flickering on and off, and enemies’ paths so you can move while they’re turned away. This part is fine, but if the tapping malfunctions you’ll be dead through arbitrary mistakes, not a lack of perception. Of course you can learn the game’s rhythm patterns, which may be different than what you hear, but why bother?

The puzzle aspect is in looking at the board and figuring out how to make your path. You go forward until you hit a wall, so you can use walls strategically to turn around. And with the trapdoors, you may want to walk over them, or you may want to fall through them to get to some more clocks. You ultimately learn that you can walk over a security guard’s head if he’s standing under a trapdoor, and you can also step on a vacuum if you’ve gotten it to stop under a trapdoor (necessary strategy on some levels).

In many levels, it’s easy to get to the big clock that you need to end the level. The other four clocks are optional. Some levels seem clear enough that you really want to get all four little clocks. That can eat up time, but if you like the game it’ll be satisfying. Fortunately if you’re having a really hard time, the game will give you the option to skip a level.

The incentive to collect little clocks, besides pride, is to unlock shadow levels. These are silhouetted, which doesn’t really change the gameplay at all. Difference being, if you mis-tap a beat on the same level as a clock, it breaks the clock. So you’ll be frustrated having to restart if you want to get all four clocks.

The game only works with the sound on, which is really annoying because the music is obnoxious. If music is required for your rhythm game, you’d better make it good. It’s a muzak jazz riff, and it doesn’t change much (if at all) between levels. The graphics are fine, a simple 2D cartoon look.

There are infinite possibilities for Beat Sneak Bandit game boards, but I won’t be interested in them. Maybe if they can come up with an update to ease some of the rhythm issues. Not looking for a cheat, but Tap Tap and other rhythm games are much more accurate in their execution.

 

App Store Link: Beat Sneak Bandit for iPhoneiPad | By Simogo | Price: $2.99 | Version: 1.0 | 72.4 MB | Rating 4+

5.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating