Beaterator Review

Considering that it comes from Rockstar, it may come as a surprise to some people that Beaterator is not a game at all. Rather it is a music creation tool designed to create the beat driven looped tracks characteristic of house, hip-hop, and techo styles of dance music. The quality of music that it can create is good enough that you can hook your PSP into a sound system and use it to DJ a party - assuming of course that you have at least a little talent for mixing tracks into a cohesive song.

Those of you with minimal mixing experience will appreciate the application's Live Play mode. In this mode speakers sit in each of the screen's corners and you can easily flip back and forth between the mode's two screens. Do the math and you'll see that you can control up to eight tracks in this freestyle mode. Each speaker is tied to a type of track such as bass or ambient keyboard, and when a speaker is selected you can use the face buttons to select one of four loops for that track type. You can just play around with the default loops, creating different combinations to entertain yourself or your friends, or you can choose to replace some of the default loops with others from the application's extensive library. In the hands of a good DJ this mode can be used for freestlye mixing for a party, but for most everyone else it will probably fall into the category of "entertaining novelty toy" … and as with all entertaining novelty toys the fun usually lasts until the novelty wears off.

Beaterator's main mode is its Studio mode, and this mode will have a familiar look to anyone who's used computer software to mix loops before. A timeline with eight tracks occupies the center of the screen and you can add loops from the game's library to any or all of the tracks. When you drop a loop onto a track the length of its bar indicates the time it takes to play the loop, and you can drag out the line to cause the loop to repeat for as long as you'd like. Once you've placed some loops, you can play the mix and watch the animated timeline to see what's being played and when. You can make adjustments to each individual loop as well, changing its relative volume or adding effects like fade or pan. If you find the sound library lacking what you're looking for, you can import samples into the application's library. Once you're happy with your creation, you can export it to a wav file. If you're proud of your work, you can even upload it to the Beaterator site to share with other Beaterator users.

Beaterator packs a surprisingly powerful music creation tool into the portable PSP, but the PSP just wasn't made for this type of application. The various button combinations required to do your work take some getting used to and are simply not as powerful or easy to use as a mouse and keyboard. If you're serious about creating music then you're going to have to invest in computer software, but Beaterator is not all that bad a substitute when you're mobile. And you can't pull a full DJ setup out of your pocket when you find yourself at an impromptu party in need of some beats to get things going…

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 80%. Beaterator is a surprisingly powerful music creation tool for mixmasters on the move.


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