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Platform

PSP

 

Genre

Rhythm

 

Publisher

Eidos

 

Developer

Definitive Studios

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

Q3 2007

 

 

- Reasonably powerful music mixing application

 

 

- Interface is pretty cumbersome

- No tutorial at all and pretty much requires previous music mixing expertise

 

 

Review: PaRappa the Rapper (PSP)

Review: Pump it Up: Exceed (PS2)

Review: PaRappa the Rapper 2 (PS2)

 

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Traxxpad: Portable Studio

Score: 6.0 / 10

 

The number of non-games available on the DS - especially in Japan - is absolutely astounding, but the PSP has mostly been relegated to games and movies. Traxxpad: Portable Studio from Eidos branches out a bit by breaking the PSP mold. It's actually a fully featured music mixing application, primarily focused on hip hop, techno, and industrial music, which is reasonably powerful considering the system. As far as complexity, it beats the living heck out of Nintendo's Elecktroplankton or Ubi Soft's Jam Sessions, the only remotely similar type software for portable platforms.

 

traxxpad          traxxpad

 

The creation system is broken down into four different modules, each with clever names: the R.T.I.S.T. lets you lay down the beats, the MeLOD lets you finetune the pitch, balance and sustain of the notes, the S.T.A.C. allows you to arrange the

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- Rhythm Game Reviews

- Games Published by Eidos

sequences and export the songs into MP3 format, and the MyXxer lets you freestyle over your music. You'll probably spend most of your time in R.T.I.S.T.. Each the face buttons correspons to four tracks, and you can switch between another four tracks, for a total of eight channels. The MeLOD is more complicated, where you use the d-pad along with the face buttons to emulate a keyboard. There are over a 

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thousand samples included with the game, and you can record and import you own using the PSP headset, altough they can only be a few seconds long.  Even this tool is pretty powerful, allowing you to directly edit the waveform or combine samples together. There's a lot you can do, but it does take a long time before you can form something ! simple.

 

Traxxpad really wants to be user friendly. There are a number of skins, including a tricked out microphone called Bling, a lowrider called S.S., and a transforming robot called Trooper. These seem to be here to attract the casual user. And yet, there's no real guidance of how to do anything, at all. The 48 page instruction manual tries to explain all the various terms used in music mixing and creation, and how they're applied to Traxxpad, but the program itself desperately needs some kind of tutorial. There is a help option, but it's so buried beneath menu after menu that it's a pain to go through it. Furthermore, there are only a scant number of demo tracks included, so it's hard to get a grasp of what the mixer can actually do until you mess around with it.

 

The major problem is Traxxpad is that it's not really sure who it's aimed at. If you've never had any experience with music creation - in other words, if you don't know what terms like "pitch bend" or "quantization level" mean - then don't even bother. Sadly, this isn't a learning tool, and it's really only meant for people who know what they're doing.  And even then, while Traxxpad is impressive given the platform and price, it can never take the place of an actual PC mixing program, which are even more fully featured and doesn't involve using the PSP buttons. As something to muck around with when traveling, it might be fun to see what you can come up with. But otherwise, it comes off as an cool little program, but one with questionable real world application.

 

- Kurt Kalata

(October 22, 2007)

 

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