As the third entry in Cinemax's musical series following last year's Rytmik and Rytmik: Rock Edition, Hip Hop King: Rytmik Edition will be familiar to anyone who's dabbled with the series' previous releases; naturally, though, the soundscape here is vastly different.
Where the original favoured electronic dance samples and the follow-up was all guitars and beefy kick drums, this latest entry features everything you'll need to make a hip hop masterpiece: plenty of percussion, record scratches and even the hiss of vinyl. If you haven't tried out a title in the series before, we recommend reading our Rytmik: Rock Edition review to get a feel for how the software works and what it's capable of doing.
Hip Hop King: Rytmik Edition is a portable music studio that lets you create your own songs from an array of pre-packaged clips, or take to the clip editor to create your own melodies and beats from the 128 samples included. You can alter polyphony, delay and pan channels left or right, giving you a surprising amount of overall musical control.
The package is remarkably polished, as you would expect following the previous titles, with a brushed aluminium style and clear icons to follow as well as a decent wedge of in-game help. The in-depth song and clip editor are all-but identical to earlier outings, with a new "twist" option in the editor that reverses samples on any channel it's applied to – a useful tool for creating unusual sounds. On the whole, samples are of a good quality and sound authentic, and piecing together beats and choruses is still satisfying. One thing hurts the game, though – the absence of vocals.
Instrumental dance and rock are natural choices, but hip hop comes alive with lyrics, and the lack of any vocals does diminish the game's appeal. Naturally, there's nothing stopping you from coming up with your own rhymes to rap over the beats, and you can use pianos or other lead instruments to take care of the melody, but without vocals, it feels the best you can come up with is a complete backing track rather than a finished song. Considering the constraints of DSiWare, it's not surprising that Cinemax couldn't fit any voiced samples into the tiny download size, but it's worth pointing out all the same.
Hip Hop King: Rytmik Edition is still a polished and powerful music studio for DSiWare, but its appeal is slightly diminished by the lack of vocals. If you're a budding MC and want a versatile solution for creating your backing tracks, this is the suite for you, but it's hard to recommend to anyone with only a passing interest in hip hop.