E3 06: Elite Beat Agents Hands-On

Tap your screen to help the world in this rhythm game from Nintendo and Iris.


Elite Beat Agents is a rhythm game developed by Iris and published by Nintendo. The game is essentially a follow-up to a Japanese DS game called Osu! Tatake! Ouendan that was released last year. In the game, spots will show up on the DS touch screen, and it's up to you to tap them at the right time, in rhythm with the background music.

If you're familiar with Ouendan, you know that the game featured three male cheerleaders who would show up in the craziest situations to save the day when someone needed some motivation. Elite Beat Agents gives you three redesigned characters, one of whom has an obligatory afro, to use to solve peoples' problems. These characters carry microphones and are ordered out into the field by their boss, Commander Kahn. Each song is associated with a sticky situation. Two missions are playable in the game's E3 demo. The song Walkie Talkie Man goes with a girl trying to ask a football-loving boy to go steady while simultaneously trying to babysit. Highway Star is associated with a lost pug's attempt to get home by skateboarding, hitchhiking, and more. The story plays out on the top screen and you have to ignore it while playing, because you'll be too focused on the lower screen to care.

The bottom screen is where all the rhythm action goes down. Circles show up on the screen, and as larger outlines converge with the smaller circles, you need to tap them. The circles are numbered, giving you an idea of where to tap next. You'll also have to drag some circles across the screen along set paths. The two levels being shown are both relatively easy, but considering how fiendish the later levels in Ouendan got, we expect there will be a significant challenge across multiple difficulty levels.

Elite Beat Agents might not have quite as much all-out coolness as Ouendan, but so far it appears to be a very interesting and addictive follow-up. It's scheduled to be released later this year.

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