Pulsen is a music and rhythm game released on Steam Early Access on July 27, 2015 with a full release date TBD.
Pulsen has 80 songs. Music in Pulsen is a variety of mostly electronic dance music from various artists. Song length varies from approximately 1:40 - 2:20.
Core game play involves the player pressing the left, right, up, and down arrow keys to hit the notes on screen and follow the beat of the music. Notes scroll upwards from the bottom of the screen past the top. The player must press the corresponding arrow keys as notes pass over the receptors near the top of the screen to score points. Score is based on how accurate an arrow key is pressed (from highest to lowest score: Ludicrous, Fantastic, Perfect, Great, Good, Almost, Miss).
There are seven note types in Pulsen, as well as a special decoy note type:
- Taps – the basic arrow note type. Press the corresponding arrow key once.
- Jumps – two arrows that appear in the same row. Press both the corresponding arrow keys at the same time. A player usually does a small jump with their feet to accomplish this when playing on a dance pad.
- Hands – three or four arrows that appear in the same row. Press all the corresponding arrow keys at the same time. A player usually has to use their feet as well as hand(s) to accomplish this when playing on a dance pad.
- Holds – long arrows that must be held down. Press the corresponding arrow key at the head of the arrow and continue to hold down until the tail of the arrow is reached.
- Rolls – long arrows that must be continually pressed. Press the corresponding arrow at the head of the arrow and continue to press and release the arrow key in beat to the music until the tail of the arrow is reached.
- Lifts – a note that must be released instead of pressed. Hold down the corresponding arrow before the note, and then release the corresponding arrow key as it passes over the receptors. Lifts usually appear only after Holds.
- Mines – a penalty note that should not be triggered. Every mine triggered will decrease your dance meter a great amount. Pressing or holding the corresponding arrow key as an arrow passes by the receptors triggers Mines.
- *Fakes – a special note that acts as a decoy. Fakes look exactly like Taps except that pressing them does nothing and they do not affect your score or dance meter in any way. In most cases it is clear which notes are actually Fakes. Fakes usually only appear in higher difficulties.
Pulsen has two game modes: Play mode and Workout mode. Both use the same songs and play style. The difference is that Play mode has the player choose any song and then one of that song's charts, while Workout mode has the player specify a difficulty first then has the player choose one of three random songs at that difficulty. Play mode allows the most freedom, while Workout mode allows the player to choose and play songs at their skill level very quickly (being more suited for a close to non-stop play session). Workout Mode also keeps track of the length and intensity of a play session.
Pulsen can be played with one player, or two locally. The game can be played with multiple inputs including: dance pad, computer keyboard, game controller, or Rock Band drums.
Every song in Pulsen has at least five charts (arrangement of notes that make up a song play through), with some songs having a sixth “Bonus” chart. Difficulty of a chart is rated on an increasing numerical scale from 1 – 16, which makes comparison among charts easier. Distribution of difficulty in Pulsen varies among the song list and each individual song.