8Bit BEATBOX- iPhone Edition ($3.99) by Blue Lotus turns your iPhone into a chipset sound machine. Make your own video game soundtrack and play it for your friends.
Three different modes are available: an eight channel loop player, a keyboard, and sample pads.
First launching the app shows the loop player. In addition to your standard drum kit affair, there is also a channel for “fire” (sounding like the flames Bowser would throw at you in Super Mario Bros.).
Simply tap the buttons for where you want the sounds to occur and they’ll sound every time the playhead reaches them. You can also change the beats per minute to be either faster or slower.
The next option is the keyboard, which has the most options available for creating different sounds. In addition to the four banks of sounds you can also choose from one of three octaves for each. It’s amazing how different a sound can be after changing it up or down an octave.
Finally, there is the sample pads, which wasn’t quite what I expected. Of the eight samples, only three of them are actual drum sounds. You get a kick, and two toms for the drums, though I expected a wider range of options.
For example, a clap, cymbal, or scratch sample would be a welcome addition. The offerings in InstaJam is a good example of what is missing.
Instead, the remaining samples are game sound effects and vocals. I found this mode to be limited due to the lack of usable samples.
Of the modes, the loop player was my favorite, and I had expected the app to be nothing but that one. All three modes together in one package feels disjointed. Some of the drum kit samples from the loop player would work well in the sample pads, and vice versa.
However, the main feature missing from this app is any way to share or export your music, such as can be done in Figure. This app is simply for live use (unless you plug your iPhone into a recording mixer).
An iPad version is available as well.