Give It Up! ($0.99) by Invictus is one of the most brutally difficult, insane arcade rhythm games that you can pick up for your iOS device. Did that not scare you off yet? Good — then read on for a treat, and be warned: this is not a game for the faint of heart. Give It Up! is similar to other games on the market, such as Superhyper, Super Hexagon, and Cosmophony.
Twitch reflex games seem to have become incredibly popular this year, as I’ve checked out what seems like dozens of these titles in the past few months. These are the titles that have proven to be incredibly frustrating, but I keep at it in hopes of beating my scores, which seems impossible at times, but that sense of achievement you get when you do is rewarding enough. I love these types of games because they are super simple, but still immensely challenging, and just a great way to pass the time, you know, when you’re not swearing up a storm. That’s why when I stumbled on Give It Up! on the App Store, I was intrigued and had to give it a try myself.
The visuals in the game are delightful, and even give me a sense of Super Meat Boy, only in part because of the main character, which is a blob. The game has a flat aesthetic that fits in well with the trend, and even has a bit of a grunge theme going on, which is fitting considering the music tracks that are in the game. While most of the game is in blacks and grays, the splashes of color that you’ll find on the targets and game menus are vibrant and contrast nicely with the rest of the game. Animations in the game are buttery smooth, and the percentage completed in the background as you play a track is fairly subtle and not in-your-face, which is nice.
The music in the game is catchy and fun to listen to, that is, when it’s not frustrating you beyond belief. Since this is a rhythm game, you have to play along to the beats in order to do well — timing is everything.
Give It Up! only has nine tracks, which means nine levels. While this does not sound like much at all, be warned — these are going to be nine of the most difficult levels you could have imagined. In each song, your objective is to complete it without missing a beat, because you’ll end up smearing Blob over the track, and well, we don’t want that. You only have one life too, similar to Cosmophony, which makes this game so dang hard. Believe me — you will end up dying in this game a lot, so don’t be surprised. In fact, it may take hundreds or thousands of attempts to beat the game entirely.
The controls in the game are simple enough, though I wish that it was more lenient with the touch radius in some parts. Blob will begin jumping in rhythm on the pillars when you tap on the screen, but you’ll encounter red, spiked pillars that will kill you if you land on them, and then taller pillars you’ll have to traverse. For the red ones, you have to tap on the touchdown of the green target prior to it in order to hop over it. To jump on the taller ones, you can just tap anywhere on the screen, but you’ll have to be quick when the game throws multiple towers at you.
My issue with the game is the small touch radius when you are attempting to jump over a spike. Perhaps it’s because my timing is off by a split second, but I encountered plenty of times when I tap the target before the spike as Blob is touching down, and nothing happens, resulting in numerous deaths. It would be nice to see the developer lighten up a bit on the touch area for doing the spike hop, but I guess this just adds to the vicious difficulty.
As if the numerous attempts you’ll put in trying to clear a level isn’t enough for replay value, there is full Game Center integration for both leaderboards and achievements. Your leaderboard ranking is determined by how much of the game you’ve managed to complete, and there are 26 achievements to keep you coming back.
This is a game that you will end up hating and cursing, but it implants that “just one more go” mentality into your head because you think you have the pattern memorized over multiple failed attempts. You’ll try and try again, encountering more failures, before you finally do well enough and feel immensely proud of yourself. In the end, it’s this sense of achievement that makes these games worth playing, even if they end up putting you to your limits. Plus, the graphics in this game are gorgeous, and the music is awesome.
If you are a rhythm game fan and up for a real challenge, then I recommend giving Give It Up! a try for yourself. I’m still trying to beat the first level.