Review: Rhythm Core Alpha (DSiWare)

Catchy beat or sour note?

We've seen a wide variety of music creations applications released for computers over the years, ranging from simple point-and-click programs that anyone can use to high-end music creation tools for professional musicians. With the release of Rhythm Core Alpha, developer SoftEgg is aiming for somewhere in the middle of this range. While the application certainly packs some higher-end features, it still tries to remain as simple as possible in order to allow gamers of all musical skills to make use of it.

There are a lot of tools to make use of in Rhythm Core Alpha, ranging from 12 separate drum tracks to set up and customise to a huge array of musical instruments with which to work. Composing music requires little more than pointing and clicking notes onto a grid. You can configure the notes any way you choose and even adjust the volume of the notes, and with 12 percussion tracks to work with you can weave a fairly intricate rhythm track if you're willing to spend the time to do it.

Once you've created your drum track, you can then begin working on adding a variety of musical instruments to the mix. You can set the range of play from 16 beats all the way up to 64 beats. You'll even be able to switch out the default musical instruments with a huge variety of instrument choices. If you're unsure what the current note on the scale is, you have a keyboard to the left that will allow you to play that particular note to verify if it's the one you're looking for. If for some reason you place a note in the wrong location on the scale, you simply click on it to remove it and start again.

If you find the grid system a bit too limiting for the type of music you're wanting to play, the program also features a Solo Mode that pulls up a screen absolutely covered with musical notes that can be played freely using the stylus and touchscreen. You'll be surprised at just how much freedom this lends to the experience and can be rather useful for times when you're looking to play something a bit more complicated. Once you've completed your musical track, you can then save it onto your DSi for future playing and editing.

You can certainly appreciate how much freedom and control the developers have managed to squeeze into this simple DSiWare application. Although it's not really anything we haven't seen elsewhere, it's certainly the first application of its kind to be made available on the DSiWare service and should provide a rather creative experience for music aficionados. It would have been nice if the developers had made the presentation a bit more visually appealing rather than use the simple black and white presentation consisting mainly of plain white text, but it's certainly adequate.


Rhythm Core Alpha does a nice job of mixing a simple point-and-click input system with a wide range of higher-end musical functions to create a music creation application that people of all ages and musical skill sets can enjoy. You won't be creating studio-quality tracks, but for those who like to play around with creating their own simple rhythm compositions, this offers up just the type of experience you're looking for. Of course, much like Flipnote Studio, it's also the type of experience that you'll basically end up getting out of it what you're willing to spend the time to put into it.

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