Music creation games aren’t new: a few titles have been released in recent years. However, 2007 seems to be the year they finally become successful. With games like Ubisoft’s Jam Sessions and this title, Eidos’ Traxxpad: Portable Studio, games are going beyond just being musically themed.
Traxxpad is not a “game” by any stretch of the imagination. There are no goals, points or anything to judge players’ efforts. Instead, it is a utility to customize beats in a way previously only possible on the PC. Players mix together tracks, create sounds and share the results with all their DJ friends.
The game uses an array of acronym-happy modules, like R.T.I.S.T.; S.T.A.C. and MeLOD. Each is specially made to handle a different portion of creating a mix, like putting together samples; manipulating sounds and mixing in real-time.
Traxxpad has a large library of samples for players to mix, including licensed ones from famous DJs. It will take a while to get bored of these, but Eidos has also included the ability to record sounds, as well as to manipulate and save the ones that are already there. Playing the game in public without headphones is almost impossible though, because accurate audio is important for mixing, and the sound from the speakers is not overly loud. Investing in some ear buds is crucial.
The true shortcoming to this title is the control scheme. While it is somewhat navigable after a while, the learning curve is, put nicely, steep. The game’s 50-page manual is a necessity, because nothing makes much sense until after reading it. This is somewhat understandable, since the limited buttons make all the options difficult to access, but there are reasons these applications usually stay on the PC.
Traxxpad is a competent portable music mixer, but there’s nothing here to appeal to the masses. DJ wannabes might want to give this a try, and experienced mixers can embrace the system’s complexity. It might be more appropriate in a music store than a game outlet, though.