Beat Sketcher Review
The push for the PlayStation Move continues into the holiday season with yet another downloadable game via PlayStation Network. Beat Sketcher attempts to expand the theme of painting beyond just putting a brush to a screen, introducing an interactive mini-game that has you drawing lines in tune to pre-programmed music. Think Elite Beat Agents, but drawing paint strokes instead of tapping circles on the screen. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work properly enough to make the $15 purchase worthwhile.
Probably the biggest draw of Beat Sketcher is being able to free paint your own designs. Kids will no doubt get a kick out of this side of the program, as they can dabble with many paint colors and utensils drawing out their ideal designs, all while they appear on screen. It’s like they get to be Bob Ross, without worrying about painting “happy trees” or growing a 70’s afro.
Sadly, there aren’t many tools to play around with here. There are only so many palette colors and items to use before you realize just how limited the program is. Even Microsoft’s years-old Paint program offers more than this. That doesn’t entirely ruin the program’s potential, but it could’ve easily had more, especially considering the hefty price tag (for a downloadable game, mind you).
Then there’s the other half of Beat Sketcher, which tries to live up to its name. In Challenge Mode, you’re asked to draw lines around enclosed circles as you try to keep up with the beat of music. It’s a good idea, but there are a couple of problems here. First off, the gameplay isn’t fully clarified, and as a result, you’ll be learning to play through trial-and-error. That isn’t to say the game can’t be learned, but this could’ve been far more enjoyable had we been briefed on getting the most out of gameplay.
Even if you do get it down, it doesn't work 100 percent accurately. If you manage to perfectly draw a line across the circles, the hits don’t read properly, and, as a result, you’re given an unfair grade. On the flip side of that, you could easily be screwing around with the controls and, guess what, you’re rated perfect. Sony should've gone through more testing with this part of the game before releasing it to the audience of would-be artists.
Otherwise, the game’s merely okay. The visual design is a little crude around the edges with the watercolor-style paints, but it’s refreshing when you see a masterpiece of your design come to life. The music’s pretty good as well, though hardly along the same lines of anything you’d hear in the Elite Beat Agents game (or better yet, the Ouendan! series).
If you absolutely need a painting program for the PlayStation 3, you could do worse than Beat Sketchers. But the fact it has so little going for it, and at such a high price, will probably have you reaching for a clipboard and markers instead.