Phase for iPod Review

Phase is the first game for the iPod created by Harmonix, the same company that graced the world with the Guitar Hero franchise. Phase shares more than a casual resemblance to Guitar Hero – or other music games Harmonix has made in the past such as Amplitude and FreQuency.

If you’ve played any of Harmonix’s music offerings, you’ll have a rough idea of what to expect. It’s basically a rhythm-matching game – an updated version of the classic Simon, in which you have to match a series of cascading notes by tapping out in time on your iPod’s Click Wheel. Three positions on the Click Wheel correspond to three targets on the screen. Notes, appearing as illuminated circles, descend from three parallel lines connected to the targets, and you need to press the corresponding positions on the Click Wheel precisely as those circles pass over the targets. Occasionally you’ll see flowing ‘sweeps’ that require you to slide your finger across the Click Wheel.

While Phase includes a small library of music, what makes this game truly fun is the fact that you can create and use your own playlist. In fact, the first time you install the game, it will create a ‘Phase Music’ playlist in iTunes that you can synchronise with whatever songs you like – stuff you’ve ripped from CD, stuff you’ve bought from the iTunes Store, or iPod-compatible music you’ve bought from other stores. Phase turns them all into gameplay levels.

The game features two different modes: Quick Spin lets you play one song at a time, while Marathon lets you play multiple songs at increasing levels of difficulty. Phase is packed with options, too; you can shuffle songs, manage different player profiles, and even ‘Choose Journey,’ which lets you play a specific gameplay environment or randomise the choice. Other options let you pause, view high scores, get help, and set the volume.

We tested Phase on a fifth-generation iPod. However, the game is also compatible with the third-generation iPod nano and the iPod classic.

OUR VERDICT

Phase is exactly what iPod gaming should be about – rather than reinventing the iPod as an also-ran game system, iPod games should just be fun and unique. Phase is exactly that. If you’re a fan of Guitar Hero or similar music games, you absolutely need Phase on your iPod.