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Rockstar Status- Beaterator Review

With no formal training, a deficient sense of rhythm, and an acute case of tone-deafness, I began my music career in the summer of 1989. A peripheral called the Replay Professional transformed my modest Atari ST in a sampler, allowing me to tweak recorded sounds into primitive music. While the output may have been closer to cacophony than the sounds of say, Depeche Mode or New Order, I didn’t care. The process of creating music using contemporary technology was invigorating.

Twenty years later, an immensely superior music creation package is now available on portable gaming systems. Beaterator for the PSP offers aspiring musicians (and those fascinated with knob-twiddling) a rich set of tools to make your creations. Like my old sampling accessory, it won’t turn novices into consummate virtuosos. Yet, if players commit a few hours of time with the tool, grooves will inevitably result.

Most maestros should probably start with Beaterator’s Live Play mode. Here users can fill a collection of sound banks with prerecorded loops, from bass lines and guitar riffs to drum fills and ambient sonic textures. A press of the face buttons begins looping a sample, allowing players to create detailed impromptu creations with a minimal amount of effort. Once users learn to construct a respectable rhythm, they can record their efforts for future playback.

The game’s Studio mode has two distinct facets: Session, for remixing melodies made in Live Play mode, and Crafter, which allows for comprehensive song creation. Here, Beaterator’s video and textual tutorials guide users through nearly every element of the application. The game’s star- Timbaland hosts broad overviews of the tools, while more specific lessons are delivered by secondary talent. Although the coaching may be redundant for users who’ve dabbled in a music creation package, it well certainly assist the apprentice. Luckily, players can turn of the game’s tutorial at any time.

With modes for constructing melodies, recording sounds, adding and editing samples and synths, the Crafter contains a profusion of sound options. Unlike similar programs for gaming consoles, Beaterator allows users to add their own samples to the game’s aural palette, greatly increasing the longevity of the title. Similarly, the title’s input and output options are extensive, allowing tunesmiths to create or import MIDI, WAV, or MP3 files.

While full-featured, desktop-based, music construction suites have been able to harness a mouse and keyboard input method, Beaterator is confined to the PSP’s six buttons, a directional pad, and an analog nub. Although it’s certainly not an ideal scheme, the title ensures that each feature is intuitively accessible.  Skillfully, most commands are shown on-screen, making a task like cropping a sample, painless. Although the title forgoes the use of user-defined hotkeys, its instinctive design alleviates the need for any custom controls. While a variety of music genres exist- from rock, pop, hip-hop, house and even U.K. Garage, I would have liked to have seen more diversity. Maybe, Timbaland’s not a fan of trance.

With a recent reduction of the titles price to $19.99 USD, any PSP owner with the slightest interest in musical composition should pick up Beaterator. Although the title’s learning curve may daunt musical neophytes, its full-featured approach to composition means users wont exhaust it’s capabilities in a few hours. Far more of a tool than a game, Beaterator is one of those rare application that truly shows the power of Sony’s Playstation Portable.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

44 comments

  1. I love nichey crap like this.

  2. Desert, did you ever get the Korg DS-10 cart?

  3. Sound kinda of fun, and totally worth $20 bucks.

  4. Didnt an ihpone app version just come out? Will you guys review that one?

  5. I suck as music, but I always like to play with these kinds of things.

  6. Depeche Mode? Really? You were one of THOSE kids?

  7. I saw this dropped last week. I almost picked it up.

  8. I like the Timbaland guy. Very cute.

  9. Cant stand Timbaland’s music.

  10. Good review, haven’t heard of this one.

  11. I have a felling I’ll buy this and get discouraged I cant make the top ten.

  12. Sounds pretty interesting.

  13. Do you have to know anything about music, like scale or chords?

  14. Sounds like it could be cool.

  15. How many samples are included? Do they try to sell you more?

  16. Very cool. $20 is my sweet spot.

  17. I think I can make something hummable. I’ve been using Cubase for years. I’d love to use this on the go.

  18. I’m sure I’ll pick this up sometime.

  19. Too bad you can’t plug in a Guitar Hero instrument.

  20. How’s the sound quality? I heard it wasn’t the best.

  21. Can you use this to make beats? Now I can start my hiphop career!

  22. The interface looks nice and clean!

  23. Interesting title, for sure.

  24. The PSP’s speakers are pretty tinny, but it’s pretty good if you use headphones.

  25. Yes, I did I I really enjoyed it. This one has a lot more features, and kept my interst for much longer.

  26. If you’re just laying down loops, no music theory is needed. If you want to get deep into creation, then a bit of experience/knowledge won’t hurt.

  27. $20 is about right. $40 was too much for this one.

  28. Yep, you can even skin it!

  29. Good review. I’ll be picking this up sometime soon.

  30. I can figure out how to get my samples to work. Can anyone help me?!?!

  31. Didn’t this one come out months ago?

  32. Can you make cinematic style music? This might be great for making music for my Youtube vids.

  33. Can you make chiptunes with it?

  34. Never heard of “Timbaland”

  35. Hope it has da 808 beats. Otherwize noone will care about it.

  36. I’m sure with your own samples you can make anything.

  37. Sounds like it couldn’t be beat!

  38. Got to agree with that.

  39. Good review, but no new releases this week?

  40. Seems like it could be cool.

  41. My Bestbuy has them in stock, so I bought one. Created a decent little jam in about 20 minutes. Now, back to work!

  42. Thanks for the review. I got this yesterday, and played until my battery died.

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