Music gamers are always on the quest for more songs. We’ll buy extra download content and add our favorite songs to our playlists, just to get new music and new challenging note patterns to play. Even the biggest Guitar Hero or Rock Band library had finite choices, so iOS music games have opened the floodgates with more content. Now Konami has created the ultimate iOS music game. It seems Japan has had it for a year, and it's been out for Android but the iOS version is a huge win for Konami.

The gameplay of Beat Gather is simple. As songs play, notes fall towards a line on the screen, and you tap the line on the spot where the note falls, at the moment it touches the line. It’s basically Guitar Hero or Rock Band with your fingers instead of a large guitar attachment. This is how most iOS music games work. Beat Gather is building off the games pioneered by TapTap and Guitar Rock 2. You’ll face challenges like simultaneous notes, holding notes and swiping in horizontal or vertical directions, but Beat Gather has added even more challenges.

The greatest new addition to Beat Gather is that the line moves. It will rise and fall, or tilt diagonally, so that you not only have to stay in rhythm, but you have to follow the moving line too. On harder levels the notes will shoot upwards instead of down, or change speeds. These are awesome new challenges for tapping masters to wrap their fingers around. You’ve never known a musical thrill like tapping notes on a vertical line coming at you from either side!

Beat Gather uses the music in your own personal iTunes library, so you can play any song you own. Now the name of these playable game note sets is weird, but it will quickly become part of your vocabulary. The playable game notes for each song are called a YUBIFU. If it’s a popular song, you can go online and find a YUBIFU that someone else has made. The game can automatically generate a YUBIFU out of any song at a minimal cost to your BP Points (in game credits), or you can make your own YUBIFU and upload that to the Beat Gather network. You’re better off making your own, because the auto-generated YUBIFUs don’t last the entire song. That’s the only possible problem I’ve noticed in the entire game. If Konami creates a patch where the auto-generated YUBIFUs go for the full song, Beat Gather will be a perfect game.

First of all, it’s great to be able to download the game and then right off the bat choose your favorite songs to play. Then you quickly pick up the game play and get hooked on nailing the combinations of notes it’s throwing at you. It’s amazing how a series of swipes and taps gets under your skin when it’s your favorite song, but the game is so good that the song could be William Hung and it would still make an awesome game out of it. I was already hooked on Beat Gather, and then online community and editing mode cinched it.

You can find YUBIFUs for most songs, even crazy stuff like Weird Al Yankovic. Not every song has a YUBIFU online though, but Beat Gather is still new. Give the community a chance to work through their music collections and I’m sure we’ll see YUBIFUs for every song. Hey, if you don’t see a YUBIFU for your favorite song, make it yourself. For popular songs like Coldplay’s Viva La Vida you can find multiple YUBIFUs and try them all. I’ve been really impressed by the YUBIFUs that online players have created. It’s always interesting to how they’ve interpreted the music, where they’ve placed arrows and which notes they’ve decided to hold.

It’s a freemium game so you could be tempted to buy additional content after you download the free version. You start with only one slot for a song, so the first thing you may want to buy is extra slots so you can load more songs. I recommend being patient. You’ll get enough BG Points for beating YUBIFUs and login bonuses that you can quickly add more content without using your credit card. Also, you don’t necessarily have to have more than one song slot. You could just keep deleting and replacing that one song, but you’ll probably want to save a bunch of YUBIFUs to work on simultaneously.

There are other music games that use your own music catalog and let you write your own YUBIFUs but they are simple tap games with only three notes, compared to Beat Gather’s five notes and the added challenges of the moving line. Writing your own YUBIFU is actually more challenging than playing someone else’s. I have a vision for the perfect YUBIFU but I messed up tapping my own song. The YUBIFU editor does allow you to rewind and correct yourself, but you could spend hours, days or weeks creating the perfect note pattern. Now you’ll know why some artists take so long to record a new album.

Then when it’s done, chances are you still won’t be able to beat your own YUBIFU on Hard. You’ve programmed the playable notes, but once the line starts moving I can’t even recognize my own programmed notes coming from all sides. In addition to moving the line around, Beat Gather may switch some notes from downwards to upwards, totally changing around your own notes. You have to score an A grade before you can share it with the world so you may have inadvertently created an unbeatable YUBIFU all on your own. Like I said, creating your own YUBIFU is the most challenging part of the game, so you wouldn’t even need to download anything to keep yourself entertained.

The graphics are really simple. The basic skin is a plain background and the notes are simple shapes that are easy to see, so you know how to tap them. Even the additional skins are simple, because the point of the game is to see the notes, not some distracting background. One skin shows the album artwork behind your YUBIFU so that’s a cool way to get a picture of the artist. The music, of course, is as awesome as your favorite artists.

With an endless supply of YUBIFUs and songs, Beat Gather is the best music game ever. I’m really happy for Konami because they invented the genre with Dance Dance Revolution, then got overtaken by Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Now on iOS, Konami got their groove back.


App Store Link: Beat Gather for iPhone | By Konami | Price: Free  | Version: 1.1.1 | 12.2 MB | Rating 4+9.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating