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Review: Beat Sketcher

With a stick.

I’ve always wanted to be artistic. It took several years and a failed first year Art A level to make me realise that perhaps I was barking up the wrong tree.  Finally I get a chance to redeem myself though as the PlayStation Move title ‘Beat Sketcher’ is heading to the PSN.  Beat Sketcher is an augmented reality game, which turns the Move controller into a paint brush and lets you loose upon the world.

When entering the main menu you are greeted by a number of bright, cheerful looking options.  Feeling confident, I headed straight to the ‘Challenge Mode’ to test my artistic flair against whatever the PS3 could throw at me. Challenge Mode consists of a number of locked out boxes, which gradually become active as you progress.  In each box is a picture of an object, a flower for example, and how it should look in its finished state.  You will then be transported to a blank screen where you will be asked to draw said object.  It’s not as easy as that though, as Beat Sketcher is part rhythm action game.

This is where it gets awkward to explain, so bear with me.  Every level has an underlying musical beat.  The game will then set about drawing a picture line by line in time with this beat.  Every line drawn creates its own musical sound which adds to the underlying beat.  You then have to trace over these lines at the exact speed the game did, keeping in time with the music.  Confused?  Excellent, that means I’ve earned my cookie for the day!  Each line you draw gets rated from ‘excellent’ to ‘bad’ depending on a number of factors.

Chaining together multiple ‘greats’ and ‘excellents’ will earn you combo points, and if you score highly enough you will be given a medal at the end of the level.  Being a Move title I automatically went in thinking I could probably ace this mode no problem; however the wife found me an hour later curled up in the corner rocking back and forth whilst humming Cheryl Cole’s ‘Fight For This Love’ (don’t ask).  Challenge Mode is surprisingly difficult!  Due to the precise nature of Move, it will pick up arm wobbles (not too much of a problem) and total utter cack-handedness (major problem) and translate it onto the screen accordingly. The game does allow for minor errors, but to get top marks requires some form of superhuman Move trickery.

Next up is ‘Match Mode’, which contains a number of fun, if a little shallow, mini games.  One has you trying to paint as much of the screen as possible in a given time limit, whilst another has you drawing as long a line as possible without a) hitting any part of the line you’ve drawn, and b) touching the side of the screen.  The most addictive of these games sees you having to essentially play ‘connect the dots’ whilst avoiding obstacles on the screen.  It sounds about as lively as a funeral, but it’s good fun.  Multiplayer mode is a mixed bag unfortunately, with over half the games unlikely to get a play-through more than twice.

Lurking alongside these disappointing mini games is a total gem though, which gives you a scenario such as ‘draw a man reading a newspaper’ which you then have to do; no guidance, no lines to trace, just your imagination.  Having watched your effort, your opponent then has to take the Move controller and draw the same description.  Cue shouts of “you cheating blaggard, you’re just copying me!” as you desperately try and nudge them and put them off.  That might be just me though.  At the end the game judges the best sketch and decides on a winner.  It works very well and creates some terribly clichéd ‘Wii advert’ style moments as everyone is grinning like a loon whilst prancing about the living room.  Although at least in the adverts nobody tripped over the cat or Thomas the Tank Engine.

The ‘Creation Mode’ can be likened to a fancy version of ‘Microsoft Paint’, where you can use the toolset to mess about and do whatever you please.  Paint a picture, take photos and trace over them, explore all the different pre-set sketches; it will last as long as your interest does.  Unfortunately that’s the problem – just how long will it hold your attention?  The Challenge Mode is very short, to the point where I had a bronze/silver medal on all levels within an hour.  Going back for gold will take a fair while, but there isn’t much incentive to do so bar grabbing those trophies.  The Match Mode adds a dose of much needed longevity, and the multiplayer mode is a nice distraction, but even then the whole lot can be blasted though fairly quickly.


  • Wonderful soundtrack
  • Great gameplay
  • A couple of novel multiplayer games
  • Interesting Creation Mode


  • Challenge Mode is too short
  • It may struggle to hold your attention
  • Some throw-away mini games

I’m finding it difficult to assign a score to Beat Sketcher.  Looked at as a game it is a fun experience that is over far too quickly.  However, those that lose themselves in the Creation Mode will find the hours flying by and will be more than happy with their purchase.  Hopefully you’ll already have an idea as to what camp you fall into.

Score: 7/10

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  1. Charmed_Fanatic
    Since: Aug 2009

    I like how they have a Sackboy picture, with this and many Sackboy products out and coming out, Sony may have made a new classic character!

    Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 16:13.
  2. Origami Killer
    Since: May 2010

    i loved the demo of this, just wondering how much the game is?

    Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 16:50.
    • Dan Lee
      Common like the rest of us.
      Since: Jun 2010

      Ill try and find out mate.

      Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 17:10.
    • R1MJAW
      Since: May 2010

      It’s $10 on the US store, so somewhere in the £6.29 – £7.99 region.

      Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 17:40.
      • Dan Lee
        Common like the rest of us.
        Since: Jun 2010

        A bit pricey. In my opinion anyway.

        Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 18:00.
      • Origami Killer
        Since: May 2010

        oh i was hoping £4.99 or just over £5 -£6, but i would like to have it

        Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 21:00.
      • R1MJAW
        Since: May 2010

        Yeah, I totally agree. It just depends on how greedy the devs are … case in point, 2 dlc packs were released this week (Mafia2 and Enslaved) , both on US store for $10, yet 1 is £6.29, the other £7.99.
        If we get it for £6.29, I may well buy it, but if it’s £7.99 they can stick it where the sun don’t shine.

        Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 21:48.
  3. jonny_bolton
    Chooses The Impossible
    Since: Oct 2008

    With PSN games, especially of this ilk, they need to have a good multiplayer mode for me to invest.

    Although, I do have a question. With the “Creation Mode” can you save the images and put them on your PC? Could become a nice little forum game…

    Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 17:27.
  4. Rocket_345
    Since: May 2010

    Didn’t play the demo of this when i lent Move off my mate. Will probably avoid this due to one of my assessed drawings in art which looked like a Christmas Tree. Which is fine if you are drawing a christmas tree. I was drawing a Candle. By the way that was one my better drawings. You do not want to hear about the worst.

    Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 18:59.
    • colmshan1990
      Since: Apr 2009

      Are you me? ;)

      Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 22:47.
  5. james123
    The Ginger Ninja
    Since: Nov 2009

    Nice review, Dan you have my humor level down to a tea! Shame its so short and over £5

    Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 19:56.
    • tonycawley
      Pint! Pint!
      Since: Feb 2009

      I do! I remember drawing a house with a garden in art. I tried drawing the fence and it just looked like a dog somehow!

      Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 20:04.
      • tonycawley
        Pint! Pint!
        Since: Feb 2009

        Balls. Replied to the wrong post again!

        Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 20:05.
  6. Peter Rushton
    Since: Aug 2010

    demo was confusing… probably give the game a miss

    Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 20:16.
  7. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    My main quibble with the demo was that the timeloop was too short and i’d have liked a bigger selection of instruments…. maybe i just want a music creation program! But it’s a quirky change of pace from the norm so if it’s €10 or less i might buy it.

    Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 20:17.
  8. minerwilly
    Since: Feb 2009

    I thought this was going to be £25 disc release , at that price I will definitely pick it up .

    Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 22:10.
  9. Topov81
    Since: Sep 2008

    Can anyone confirm when this will hit the UK store ?…. my kids liked the demo and I was tempted to buy it off the HK store, but I’ll wait if it’s out here next week.

    Comment posted on 25/11/2010 at 22:26.
  10. paxpacis
    Since: Forever

    Is there a demo on the psn?

    I installed the one from the Move Starter disk, only the Creation mode is enabled none of the other options.

    The controls are poorly chosen, I mean the trigger would be a good choice to control you brush instead of the button on top. And when you selected a color and touched the trigger (by accident) the color reverted to blackish..

    Comment posted on 26/11/2010 at 08:38.

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