Impressions: Hip Hop All Star

The success of DJ Hero has prompted other games to follow in its footsteps. Even on platforms you wouldn’t normally expect to see similar titles, different imitators are sprouting everywhere! One of the latest, and perhaps one of the greatest, has surfaced. Entitled Hip Hop All Star, it provides mobile gamers with a chance to enjoy all of what made DJ Hero great, sans the astronomical price tag and bulky (albeit excellent) peripheral.

Perhaps the first thing you’ll note is the game’s astounding amount of polish and finesse. While it’s no revelation that any developer could carelessly toss together a music and rhythm game with little regard to what fans of the genre really want, Hip Hop All Star has been painstakingly created with the attention to detail only music gamers can appreciate. As an aspiring DJ, it’s your job to mix, chop, and spin the hottest tracks into a soundtrack for the dance floor and thumping club jams. Amongst the songs in your arsenal you can choose from artists such as Busta Rhymes and Kid Cudi, proving that I-Play wasn’t looking to create just any fly-by-night DJ Hero imitation.

From your grassroots start as a young DJ looking to make your way up to the top, you’ll start out slow in-game as well. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Guitar Hero title or similar game, then you should find playing Hip Hop All Star a piece of cake. Simply tap onscreen icons on a spinning record when the grooves on the record arrive at their respected colors. There are only three colors to keep track of, so it’s nothing too difficult to start off with. Occasionally you’ll need to hold several notes, and use more than one finger to hold melodies. From then on the difficulty will ramp up considerably, so you might want to spend more time than necessary in the simple stages and early tutorials.

Fill up your scratch meter shown onscreen in order to enter scratch mode, which is a freestyle mode that allows you to earn a glut of bonus points, as well as truly make the song you’re playing your own. While you can simply run your finger around the record willy-nilly, taking time to scratch out different areas on the track produces new and different sounds, and unique combinations that you may have not been expecting. There are many layers to Hip Hop All Star, for sure.

After you complete certain sets throughout the game, you’ll face off against a rival DJ, and in order to make it to the top you know you have to outshine anyone in your path. You’ll go back and forth with your rival in order to complete sequences of a song, all the while dropping distractions on the other’s screen to try and throw them off their game. It’s quite similar to boss battles seen in Guitar Hero or even games such as Battle of the Bands where paint is strewn across the screen for a short amount of time, forcing one (or both) of you to stumble and miss a few notes. DJ battles are undeniably a great part of the game, and one that’s recreated well in multiplayer mode.

Keep playing the game to unlock 12 different tracks, new loot for your in-game avatar, and link up to Facebook to share your progress throughout the game with your friends. I-play has announced additional DLC coming down the pipeline in the form of more songs to play, but the 12 songs included are particularly impressive for this game’s first rodeo.

Needing a portable DJ Hero fix? Hip Hop All Star’s got you covered, and as far as portable rhythm games go, it’s most certainly one of the best — and that’s certainly saying something, considering how many there are.

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