Beats Sports for the new Apple TV is a $9.99 collection of entertaining, mini-games inspired by familiar sports like tennis, volleyball, baseball, and golf. If you’re a Nintendo Wii fan (past or present) think Wii Sports with a sci-fi theme and a heavy music emphasis.
You’ll play with and against aliens in four mini-games using your Siri Remote. Swipe left or right to move from side to side, and move the remote to swing your bat, tennis racquet, or gold club. Learning the basics of gameplay is simple; getting the timing done to, for example, return a serve or hit a baseball … er, Whacky Ball … isn’t.
You can play in three locales: Home (Earth), Away (outer space) and Far Away (the aliens’ home planet). The different environments are colorful in a pleasantly cartoonish way and look great on a big TV screen. Additional levels can be unlocked as you play; there’s a Pro Mode with more difficult versions of the mini-game. Beats Sports also lets you customize your player’s outfit and equipment for some events, should you be so inclined (I’m not).
One nice touch to Beats Sports: you can download a free Beat Sports Remote App from the Apple App Store to turn your iPhone or iPod touch into an extra controller. This lets up to four players compete against each other in the fast, fun Buddy Ball mini-games. Beats Sports is fun when played alone, but it shines as a multi-player game.
The new Apple TV can use your iOS device as an additional controller if the game you're playing supports it. Typically, you'll see iOS controller support for games that have an iPhone or iPad counterpart.)
The developers of the app say you can “swing, volley and score to the beat of the music.” Yes, there is music (soundtrack features songs composed by Harmonix and by Masaya Matsuura, the creator of PaRappa the Rapper), but it’s simple background theme music that neither distracted or added to the game play — at least to my ears.
There’s nothing revolutionary about Beats Sports, but that’s okay. It’s a solid, if lightweight game, that shows the Apple TV’s gaming possibilities — and which can liven up a get-together with your friends.