Most gamers have strummed a plastic guitar and tapped buttons or touch screens to a beat; probably even more have spent countless hours dropping blocks. Now introducing Magical Beat from Arc System Works, which tasks players with dropping blocks in a way that matches the background music's rhythm. It's pretty cute to boot:
As you may have noticed, all the blocks (called "beatons") come in a little L shape. The way to clear them is your typical match-3 style. However, you also have to match the beat of the song as you stack. There's a "beat syncro gauge" to help you, but if you drop with bad rhythm, the beatons busts apart and scatter, ruining your carefully planned masonry. Better hit the arcade with your headphones and musical know-how intact!
Once you manage to match three, there is a bonus period of four beats called "connect time" that allows you to rack up extra points by adding on to your chain. Depending on your score, "jammer beatons" will be chucked onto your opponents screen. These unhealthy-looking black blocks can only be removed by clearing adjacent beatons.
Magical Beat has three modes:
*Newbie Battle (literally "Chick Battle," as in "baby bird") comes with a tutorial and has five stages where you battle the computer. You get to play all the way through even if you lose.
*Normal Battle consists of 10 computer battle stages that get harder as you go.
*Hell Battle also has 10 stages, but the computer is at full strength all the way through. Another color of beaton also appears, making it more difficult to chain them up.
Finally, you can bust in on a solo player to challenge them. I'm definitely bringing a friend to the arcade for this one!
The 13 characters are done in pixel art and move in various ways depending on the song that is playing. These, however, are not the only avatars. Apparently Arc System Works has prepared a battery of characters and songs from their fighting game series, BlazBlue, to be introduced "at fixed intervals."
For a game called Magical Beat, you'd better have some pretty magical beats! They've employed NicoNico favorite, Kikuo.
Visit the official website for more screens, plus wallpaper and Twitter icon goodies. Magical Beat is scheduled to come out at the end of the month [in Japan], so we'll definitely hit up an arcade and report back!