World of Tunes is a charming rhythm game from Com2Us in which you tap “tuneys” in time with the music. The story goes that the tuneys’ World of Tunes is threatened by a menacing invading force that has stolen all the music. You get snippets of the story in comic style screens and cut-scenes, and while the tale is not captivating it is a pleasant backdrop for some idle mobile gaming. The tuneys – which look a lot like Slimes – are so darn cute and musical you want to help them, even if they don’t make it easy.
In defense of their world the little guys leap up in time with the music in the vein of Elite Beat Agents. Tuneys are trapped inside a shrinking, electrified circle, and tapping them at the right time (the peak of their arc) saves them. In addition to completing songs, which restore the puzzle pieces of the World of Tunes, there are boss battles. Before you begin the boss battle, the final frame of the comic will tell you how to defend and attack that particular foe. You still tap tuneys like in a typical level, only successfully deploying tuneys in time with the song is an attack on the boss. Then, the boss will retaliate and you have to stop his attack – whether a slew of bombs, poisonous gas or fire. One boss is a giant plant you slap about the face, and all of them remind me at least a little bit of Mario battles, a comparison aided by the bosses crumbling like a castle upon defeat.
Most tuneys are run of the mill blobs, while other tuneys are giant and must be tapped three times at three different points. Mixing it up a little are exploding tuneys and tuneys that you have to drag along a path to complete the song. This was tricky at times, and at first it was not clear what to do. While there is a learning option in the menu it only introduces you to the basics and does not explain some gameplay points, like how to deal with unique tuneys in DJ mode. Even in Easy mode the health bar is not so forgiving that it encourages experimentation.
The health bar at the top of the screen monitors your progress, and it is game over if you lose too many tuneys and the meter runs dry. At the end of a song or battle your performance is reviewed based on things like combos, a percent completion and ultimately a letter grade. Your high scores are recorded, but the game lacks multiple saves and the ability to associate a name with a score, which is always a drag. Without features like that, how can I show friends and family how much better than them I am?
The game moves quickly through six levels and four boss battles. The levels are re-playable but the experience is short-lived. In addition to the Story Mode is Freeplay, which allows you to choose any level out of the story to hone your skill and try for a higher score. DJ mode changes gameplay, and instead of tuneys moving in arcs to different points on the screen they accelerate in different, fixed, columns to a median point where you must tap them. It is more of a Tap Tap Revenge take on the game, and is a lite version of the gameplay found in Story Mode with half as many tracks. Each mode is available in Easy (which shows where the tuneys will peak) and Normal, with an unlockable Hard mode. If the game still just isn’t challenging enough you can try Crazy Mode, where the tuneys’ movements are unpredictable.
Graphics are cheerful and bright with well-designed menus. The game cinematics play in the video player, which at first seemed like a hasty move but I don’t mind the choice. I was able to pause, skip or rewind them like a mini-movie, and it was very convenient. The screen positively explodes when you are doing well with colors, sounds and a different backdrop. This is one of those games that for me and my eyes success is almost a punishment as the screen becomes a sea of victorious eruption, making tuney tapping that much more difficult. Oddly, the status bar for the iPhone is visible in game. The game is so vibrant and the visuals so distracting it isn’t a huge thing, but it is there.
The music is styled for a game, and enjoyable without being really memorable. There are just shy of a dozen tracks in World of Tunes, and if you think they are the bees knees you can access them for pure listening fun in the Jukebox feature. All the songs are a brief couple of minutes, and consequently the levels are pretty short. This makes them good for on the go gaming and bad for staying power. Still, World of Tunes is a great looking, polished mobile game with some re-playability, and the sale price of $1.99 is a perfect fit.