We don’t know about you, but we’ve always been hopeless at those pesky slider puzzles. Rather than try to solve our alphabetical one as a child, we decided to rearrange our understanding of the order of letters. It’s proved a nightmare in later life, we have to admit.
Still, trust FuturLab – the developers of the unreasonably ace Velocity – to make the infuriatingly impossible feel both refreshing and fun. Beats Slider takes each tile from a traditional sliding puzzle and fills it with musical data, allowing you to move it between different tracks in order to create new arrangements on the fly. It’s a brilliant mechanic because it means that even when you’re making a mess of the conundrum, you’re at least having an impact on the soundtrack.
In truth, we’re not entirely sure what form of sorcery the developer has employed to build the game, but we’d love to be privy to a sniff of it. Anyone with a basic understanding of audio production and notation will know that you can’t just drag one musical sequence onto another and expect it to sound good – but in Beats Slider, it works flawlessly. A remix mode – which is unlocked after you complete each stage – allows you to mix and match bass lines with drum beats to create brand spanking new tunes. Incredibly, no matter how hard you try to break the game, the audio almost always sounds good.
Furthermore, the actual beat sliding section of the experience is slick and solid. The game makes good use of touch to allow you to slip blocks around with ease. Meanwhile, a hints system gives you a helping hand if you’re stuck on a puzzle, and there are medals to unlock if you’re particularly good. We earned one during our time with the game.
Visually, the title’s not especially ambitious, but the clear, futuristic presentation from Velocity is repurposed to good effect. However, as we’ve already alluded to, it’s the music that’s the star of the show, with chunky, electronic riffs tailored to stimulate your eardrums.
Whether or not you get much out of Beats Slider will depend upon your tolerance for sliding puzzles, but there’s some great music here to encourage your investment regardless. In many ways it’s the perfect title for PlayStation Mobile: simple, disposable, and smart. And at less than the price of a Kinder Surprise, it’s hard to really complain either way.