January 27, 2012 at 10:50 am

Pugs Luv Beats: Most Addictive iOS Music Game with Dogs as Instruments

pugs luv beatsIt’s becoming clear that the stock cast of videogame characters — plumbers, hedgehogs, guys with jetpacks — are played out. Just yesterday, we covered an immensely popular rhythm game that sends Romantic-era composer Frederic Chopin on a quest to save modern music, through a series of epic face-offs and remixes.

Now, here come the intergalactic pugs, whose blunted canine form apparently belies great technological and musical prowess and an overzealous desire to create the biggest beats. In Pugs Luv Beats, the beats are actually beets, which the pugs harvest to create unexpectedly awesome generative music.

Clearly, a bizarre premise like this requires a backstory, so here it is: After the pugs give one beet/beat a steroid injection and too much love, it reached critical mass and detonated the pugs’ home planet. The explosion cast hundreds of helpless, beat-less pugs into space to search for new planets on which to sow their musical beat gardens.

Pugs Luv Beats ($3) is half grid sequencer, half musical Farmville. Moving pugs across the grid — to various selected points and then back to their houses — triggers a wide range of sounds.

Rerouting pugs generates different beats, while outfitting them with costumes to assist with traversing various terrains (rocks, water, etc.) changes a pug’s speed, and thus the time in which they complete their sequence. The beats range from hypnotically ambient to multi-layered polyrhythmic compositions. Each new planet offers a new template for another composition, with new sonic terrains.

pugs luv beats 2Everything in this game makes sound, from the travelling pugs to the buttons for purchasing new homes and planets. Even the pug who sings along thermin-style to the planet menu (my favorite part) lets you solo over your beats by sliding your finger across the screen. The X axis controls frequency, and the Y axis alters the wave shape.

It might sound complicated, but there’s somehow a logic to this weird concept of making music with root-vegetable-farming dogs. If you’re wondering how it could possibly be cool (we wouldn’t blame you), check out the gameplay video below, which showcases the wide range of sounds and textures available in this weird little music game.

(Meanwhile, gearheads familiar with Pure Data, the visual programming language that makes interactive music apps like this possible, can view the digital signal processing guts behind the cutesy art here.)

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