Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon
Not many applications for the iPhone or iPod Touch are geared directly towards a hip-hop audience, but Delicious Vinyl Records aims to break from the norm with a low-cost app set to some classic rap they call Delicious Vinyl DJ. Coming in at an affordable $2.99, the price is certainly nice, but can the game live up to the hype? The press release makes this bold claim:
"Delicious Vinyl DJ puts anyone with an iPhone inside the DJ booth and behind the decks cutting and scratching across the greatest golden era hip-hop tracks ever! Don’t just play along with the song, bust a move out of the living room and work that cut! Get the party started anywhere! Match multi-colored notes as they flow down the screen; trigger scratches on two turntables with a thumb twist or tap a button on the mixer in time with the music to score points. Just like a real DJ, increased accuracy determines how fresh and tight the mix will sound and gets you more points! Delicious Vinyl DJ delivers the party to wherever you are – no peripherals or add-ons necessary!"
Let's put that to the test. DV was kind enough to send me a promo download code to review this app, so just in time for the holidays I'm gonna let you know whether or not it's worth burning a bit of that iTunes gift card you got as a stocking stuffer. The logo after installation is closeup of vinyl on a turntable, so there can be no doubt you're clicking on something for those who love to DJ. The game launches with a remix of Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" with an unnamed wax spinner cutting up the phrase "let's do it" over and over. After about 30 seconds - silence. I suppose most people will have followed the instructions to "tap to start" by that point but as a reviewer I wouldn't have minded if they let that opening music loop.
Speaking of "tap to start" the game is not SUPER responsive when you "do it" - you may mistakenly believe your device has frozen. Wait 15-20 seconds and eventually you'll see a logo for Young MC's "Bust a Move" superimposed over a turntable with three choices - play, buy song, or visit site. Obviously I'll push PLAY. The game offers three more choices - easy, medium, or hard. Since I've never busted this move before, let's go with easy to start. A voice says "let's get scratchin" and a loading notice pops up. Load times in just about every area of this game are a negative, but given we're working with compressed memory on a portable device that's to be expected.
The meat and bones of Delicious Vinyl DJ is a familiar "Guitar Hero road," which you travel forward on while the song plays in the background. In the bottom half of the screen you've got a wheel of steel on either side and some sound effect buttons in the middle. Periodically you'll come to points in the game to bust a funky scratch, signaled by an arrow telling you to backspin or move ahead, and occasionally one to juggle the beat back and forth. If you hit the right move at the right time, you score points, and if you hit enough right moves in a row you get a bonus multiplier. Yup, this is Guitar Hero for turntable junkies. Of course with games like DJ Hero you get a full sized controller to spin on, and though nobody's sent me a promo for that one (probably because it costs $99.99, not $2.99) I suspect it's a lot easier to control. If you've DJ'd for real you have to untrain your instinct to move the entire record with your hand and scratch with one finger, not to mention the touch screen doesn't always respond when you think it should. If you have "fat fingers" forget about it - this is definitely a game for the nimble.
Getting the timing of Delicious Vinyl DJ down is a bear, but once you do it's a lot more fun for only $3 than most of the apps I've seen for sale (like I really want to feed koi fish, c'mon). Best of all the selection of songs is pretty deep for a small price - Young MC's "Bust a Move," Tone Loc's "Funky Cold Medina," a hard rock remix of "Wild Thing," Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By," Masta Ace's "Born to Roll," Mr. Vegas' "Put it Up" and an Eminem remix of "Slaughtahouse." At a buck each you'd spend $4 more getting these songs individually from the iTunes store, and here you actually get to interact with the tracks. If you're a Guitar Hero or DJ Hero fan I suspect you'll appreciate the effort DV made with this app. If you're not into beat or rhythm video games, or you are but prefer a full-sized controller, it's not for you. At such a low price point I have to think this game will have more converts than detractors. If you own an iPhone, go out there and bust a move.
* Design: 6.5 out of 10
* Replay: 7.5 out of 10
* Overall: 7 out of 10
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