kensterfox's Elite Beat Agents (Nintendo DS) review

When A Problem Comes Along, You Must Tap It.

Last year, Guitar Hero took the standard idea of performing actions (pressing buttons, strumming a paddle) in time to music, and wrapped its own very distinctive style and charm around it. In much the same way, Elite Beat Agents will have you tapping, dragging, and spinning surrounded by a manic flair all its own, all wrapped up in a funny and pleasing package.

The mechanics really couldn't be simpler. The game only asks you to do three things - tap an indicated area of the screen on an indicated beat of a song, drag the stylus from one indicated area to another in an indicated rhythm, or draw circles on the screen as fast as you can. That said, you will be asked to do these things quickly and precisely, so levels can very anywhere between incredibly hard and frustratingly difficult, most often falling in the area of "OK, I'll really get it this time..."

The style is a bit bizarre, but always entertaining and fast-paced, which suits the substance of the game perfectly. The songs are obviously covers, which dampens the enjoyability if you happen to be familiar with the songs (although familiarity with the music makes the game considerably easier). The game also will not have the lasting appeal of an RPG or strategy game it will take forever to complete - the songs are limited, and once you have them down, there's little replay value. Still, there are few games for the DS that are as start-to-finish entertaining as Elite Beat Agents. Agents are GO!

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