I had a hard time deciding exactly where I was on this one. It's a cool concept - a portable studio on your PSP - but this has got to be a small niche; this isn't even a game. Although I avoid reading other reviews when I'm reviewing something, when I got to the point of selecting a score, I decided to look around the net to see what others were rating Traxxpad
, since it was, in my mind, a great concept, poorly implemented. What I saw both astounded and disgusted me, but mainly, it confused me - at first. The first reviews I found all scored Traxxpad
in a range of 80-90%. Not only did this seem way too high, in my opinion, but when I read some of the text of these reviews, there were a lot of complaints about the U.I. being hard to get used to and the thousand plus included sounds being hard to find due to the rather cryptic filing system that was used; some sounds are filed, not by type of sound, but by the artist or label who might have used them. Sam Bishop, a fellow reviewer and a friend of mine, even said in his review of Traxxpad
that he typically uses a "ten minute rule" to determine his initial opinion of a game: if it doesn't catch his interest in ten minutes, it's not a good game. He said that after playing Traxxpad
for over 100
minutes, he still
didn't know what he was doing, but he was having fun doing it... he rated it as a 90% (9/10). I think all of those reviews are a bit lenient. To me, an 90% is a very strong recommendation of a game and I can't honestly recommend purchasing Traxxpad
to anyone. I would suggest possibly renting it, if you think it sounds like something you'd like, but my fear is that it will prove to be so challenging to people who are considering getting into music that they may think that making music is too difficult for them and move on to something else. Arsun Fist
, one of the musicians who has posted some videos on Definitive Studios' MySpace page
sent in a video where he's trying a new technique of pausing the playback to allow longer samples to play longer. While this is an innovative way to use Traxxpad
creatively in a live performance, it's a shame that users are having to find ways to trick the Traxxpad
into performing more functionality than it was made to - especially since other sequencers I've used allow you to adjust the length and timing of individual instantiations of sequences when creating a song. In other words, other sequences support this without the need to "pause" the playback at just the right time.
Digging deeper, I found other reviews that rated Traxxpad as low as around 30% or so. That's low. I consider 60% to be a total failure, so a 30% would be a product that is a total failure, and either damaged your hardware or shot your dog... or was a failure that was designed with obvious mistakes that could have easily been fixed, I suppose. I think the wide variation between these scores can be explained by the different types of people who are reviewing it. Anyone expecting Traxxpad to be a game is going to get frustrated within 10 minutes or so, and the score should be pretty low. Anyone who's into reviewing games, not making music, may find it fun if they get past the initial learning curve, and may give it a higher score... not a perfect score, but something in the 80's doesn't seem so surprising with this context. However, anyone who's into music, as I am, and has seen other PC and console based music tools... anyone who realizes just how limiting Traxxpad really is... That person's going to have a hard time choosing a score and will likely select something in between these two ranges, as I have.
While the menus are unforgivably hard to use - even when you know what you're supposed to do, Traxxpad has other issues. Sadly, the largest problem with Traxxpad is that it's simply not worth the effort. While there are various editing tools that you can use to do various things, the end result is that you can create a song that has no more than four sequences. For those of you who aren't that familiar with music, this gives you just about enough complexity to do a rendition of, say, "Three Blind Mice." That is, mind you, assuming that you don't try to separate out parts. If you wanted to create a song with a simple baseline, it's very possible that your bass line alone would have more than four parts to it. To call this limitation "restrictive" would be an understatement. It is nothing less than crippling. You could, of course, simply make a rhythm to sing over, but even then, you'd be artistically stifled with only four parts. In the end, you will have the ability to save your creation off as an .mp3 file, but you're not likely to care, unless you're creating simple beats to save out as MP3 and use in some other sequencer to create something worthwhile.