We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Games software Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

Phase iPod game review

£3.99 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Harmonix

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

We've found our new favourite iPod game, and it's called Phase.

We've found our new favourite iPod game, and it's called Phase.

Phase is the first game for the iPod created by Harmonix, the same company that graced the world with the Guitar Hero franchise. And Phase shares more than a casual resemblance to Guitar Hero - or other music games Harmonix has made in the past like Amplitude and FreQuency.

If you've played any of Harmonix's music games, you'll have an approximate idea of what to expect. Phase is basically a rhythm-matching game - an updated version of the classic game Simon, in which you have to match a series of cascading notes by tapping out in time on your iPod's clickwheel.

When playing Phase, three positions on the clickwheel correspond to three targets on the screen. Notes, appearing as lit circles, descend from three parallel lines connected to the targets, and you need to press the corresponding positions on the clickwheel precisely as those lit circles pass over the targets.

Occasionally you'll see flowing "sweeps" that require you to slide your finger across the clickwheel.

Catching a lot of notes maxes out your streak "multiplier" enhancing your score. You also have a chance to boost your score by capturing all parts of sweeps and specially coloured bonus phrases. You'll earn stars along the way - catch enough, and you'll make it through a checkpoint. But if you fail to catch the required amount by the time you reach the checkpoint, you'll lose a heart. Lose enough hearts, and the game is over.

While Phase includes a small library of music, what makes this game truly fun is the fact that you can create and use your own playlist.

In fact, the first time you install the game, it will create a "Phase Music" playlist in iTunes that you can synchronise with whatever songs you like - stuff you've ripped from CD, stuff you've bought from the iTunes Store, or iPod-compatible music you've bought from other stores. Phase turns them all into gameplay levels.

The game also features a number of ambient environments as backdrops for the game play - everything from urban cityscapes to psychedelic fantasias rife with bug-eyed monsters. It's really trippy and delightfully fun - whimsical, colourful and eye-catching.

But what makes Phase so much fun is that it's going to be different for everyone. Some people might want some pounding electronica or rock-and-roll to get their hearts racing; others might find some mellow jazz or instrumental music to be more conducive to the trance-like state you need to achieve to find your zen moment in Phase.

NEXT PAGE: game modes and compatibility > >

Phase Expert Verdict »

Compatible with iPod nano (3rd generation), iPod classic and iPod (5th generation)
requires iTunes 7.5 or later
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

Phase is exactly what iPod gaming should be about - rather than reinventing the iPod as an also-ran game system, making it a truly unique game experience. If you're a fan of Guitar Hero or similar music games, you absolutely need Phase on your iPod.

  • Guitar Hero: Metallica review

    Guitar Hero: Metallica

    With Guitar Hero: Metallica the axe-shredding series returns to the stage with a rock solid entry that should please rhythm game players, while also giving Metallica fans plenty of fist-pumping content.

  • Bomberman for iPod

    Bomberman for iPod

    After my poor experience with the iPod version of Sonic the Hedgehog, I wasn't holding out a lot of hope for Hudson Soft's introduction of its intrepid character Bomberman on the iPod. But as it turns out, the developer has done a fine conversion, bringing this classic video game character to the iPod.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog game for iPod

    Sonic the Hedgehog game for iPod

    Few games have had the enduring popularity and genre-defining quality of Sonic the Hedgehog. Now he's back in his original glory on the iPod.

  • Guitar Hero 5 review

    Guitar Hero 5

    The Guitar Hero franchise has been a forerunner in the virtual music genre since 2005, but there's no denying that the series has lost some of its lustre over the years. Can Guitar Hero 5 revive things?

  • iPod nano games

    iPod nano games

    Apple has made video games available on its redesigned iPod nano. Does the game experience translate to Apple's smaller iPod?


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

Apple's 2014 highlights: the most significant Apple news of 2014

IDG UK Sites

2015 creative trends: 20 leading designers & artists reveal the biggest influences & changes coming)......

IDG UK Sites

Ultimate iOS 8 Tips: 35 awesome and advanced tips for using iOS 8 on iPhone and iPad