Groove Coaster, Taito’s iOS music game

groove coaster

This piece was originally published as a review on Game Boyz on 8/7/2011.

Groove Coaster was released on the iOS last week, and I’ve had trouble staying away with it. Following in the footsteps of Space Invaders Infinity Gene, Groove Coaster is Taito’s newest offering. At only $2.99 it delivers a fantastic music experience that I highly recommend.

In Groove Coaster, your avatar follows along a set line. Icons on the line set to the music indicate when you should tap the screen. As the game progresses, the complexity increases as well. Besides regular tap notes, Groove Coaster introduces holds, sliding holds, flicks, and more. The game gets especially crazy and fun when a fast song is playing and the line begins to plummet into the screen, forcing you to pay attention to the music since the graphics are too simple to indicate depth. Interestingly, Groove Coaster also features notes called ad-libs. The game doesn’t penalize you for tapping if there’s no note near. Because of this, you’re free to tap along to the music even if there’s no icon. While doing this you can sometimes find hidden ad-lib notes! This system rewards paying attention to the music rather than just the screen.

groove coaster

The simplistic graphics suit the game quite well. Groove Coaster features the same style as earlier iOS game, Space Invaders Infinity Gene (another awesome iOS game). Throughout the game, you can unlock additional skins to change the appearance, keeping the graphics simple but giving it a bit of flavor. The whole game has that HD retro look, even though it’s not a remake. It is, however, absolutely gorgeous. The music is exactly what you’d expect as well – electronic, techno, with a bit of pop and hip-hop. It’s the perfect blend. The soundtrack, by Taito houseband Zuntata, is available on iTunes already.

A variety of tracks are available in Groove Coaster, each with three difficulties. The game also features leaderboards and achievements. Additional avatars, skins, and items are available as DLC, but these seem overpriced to me. While another song for $0.99 isn’t terrible, items that provide a benefit for a single track just don’t seem worth it.

groove coaster

The game is short and not very challenging, but I definitely don’t mean that as a negative. Taito doesn’t seem to be setting out to create a challenge or long game. Groove Coaster is a wonderful music experience. It’s definitely one of the “must plays” of the iOS, and at only $2.99 on the App Store, you should go grab it right now!



Joystiq was my preferred video game news site for a long time largely due to the Joystiq Podcast. While I don’t always have time to play the newest games, I loved listening to Chris Grant, Justin McElroy, Ludwig Kietzmann, and sometimes Griffin McElroy talk about video games and their lives in general. I got to know each of them and began to understand their frame of reference for video games. I came to realize that Griffin’s top 10 list each year would give me more “oddball” choices, so I’d eagerly wait for his list.

When I learned that Chris Grant was leaving Joystiq, handing over the Editor-in-Chief position to Ludwig, I was happy for Ludwig but very sad to hear Chris was leaving. When I heard that Justin and Griffin were leaving, I actually got excited. No, not because I was glad to see them go. If all three of them were leaving, surely they were leaving together! They went to work for Vox Media, who owns The Verge.

Eventually it was revealed that the new game site would be called Polygon. And they forgot to hire web programmers for months and months (I can only assume).

Luckily, the wait is over. On Tuesday I received the following e-mail:

A long time ago, on a landing page far, far away, you ignored everything your parents ever taught you and entered your email address into a form on the internet. While normally we would join your parents in frowning on this kind of behavior, this one time it seems to have worked out! You asked to be notified when — the new video game website from Vox Media — was live and well, friend … today’s that day.

So fire up your favorite web browser, be it desktop, tablet, or mobile-based, and load up:

-Team Polygon

I’ll need to spend some time getting to know Polygon to get a feel for the writers and the type of content they provide. I’ve looked it at a little and already noticed that while I love the layout, I think the 20-point scale for reviews is too specific. However, their review policy is very interested. The reviewer writes the review but doesn’t score it. He or she then sits down with senior editors to discuss what numeric score accurately reflects the review as it was written. It’s a new of way of giving a numeric score, and I like it!

Anyways, go check out Polygon! Also, don’t forget about Joystiq and of course Game Boyz, the site for which I review iOS titles (and once in a while PC titles).