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iPhone App Review: Rap Rivals™

iPhone App Review: Rap Rivals™

May 12th, 2011 by

The ability to make music on the go is one of the greatest things about having a high-powered computer in your pocket. Combine multi-track mixing with head-to-head battles that are voted on by your peers and you have Rap Rivals, a new game from Stagename, Inc. that lets you create multi-layered songs complete with vocals (your own or chosen from an included assortment) and then hopefully be crowned winner in a battle against another player’s creation.

How It Works

The game has an extensive tutorial that takes you on a dizzying tour of the various steps you need to take in order to build a song and compete in a battle.

After creating your identity, you must then make a song in the studio. You can add different sampled sounds from an assortment of categories, including drums, bass, guitar, strings, etc. When it comes to adding vocals you can choose from several selections included with the game or record your own. Each category of instrument includes several unlocked samples as well as many more that can be downloaded by using in-game currency (called, appropriately enough, “CASH”)  to unlock them. All instruments and vocals can be sampled before downloading them or inserting them into a track. It should be emphasized that the in-game CASH is virtual and can be accumulated by winning battles or by in-game purchase.

Once you have a song, you can enter into a rap battle. You earn cash and experience in battles, which are won by the first player to get five votes for his song. You can get votes from friends, bribing judges, downloading sponsor apps, or creating “buzz” in the game.
There is also a gear shop where you can spend your hard-earned (or hard-bought) cash to buy clothing and other apparel, and a lounge where you can see the latest buzz, which is sort of an in-game only Twitter.

Pros And Cons

The first thing that should be noted about Rap Rivals is the high-quality music that can be produced in the game. Well, as high-quality as a song can be that’s been created on a phone and that is only 20 seconds long. The instrument and vocal samples are clean and sound amazing. The Vocalizer in the game even has some auto-tuning and other vocal effects, but it is a separate in-app purchase for $1.99.

The app also has the kind of social networking awareness that you would expect: you can share completed songs on Facebook, or directly send Facebook and emails from the app in order to try and get votes for your battle.
My only real complaint with the music studio is that the songs are only around 20-22 seconds long. Since the developers have put together a fairly sophisticated song studio (for free even) it would be great to have the option to create even longer tracks. I also thought the interface to the many, many different game screens could use some standardization: on some screens you press “Done” when you’re finished, some have a “Back” button to go back to the prior screen, and on some you flip a toggle switch to quit. It’s an unnecessary difference to make between all of the different areas and could be simplified down to a single standard method of getting around.


Overall the app is very well done, with a lot of free functionality and some areas to spend real-world money that don’t unduly diminish the game experience for people not willing to shell out the extra dough. The interface as I mentioned could use some more thought in terms of how you get around, but it’s generally an easy app to figure out in the first place so it’s tough to get lost. As a free music studio it’s definitely worth downloading, even if you never enter a battle, and hopefully we’ll get an option to have some longer tracks sometime in the future.

  • Layna

    One of my favorite games! I love making tracks, rapping, and showing off to my friends. Thanks for posting this review. Ever hear of TriviaTunes? It's a fun name-that-tune- game. Check it out!

  • Layna

    One of my favorite games! I love making tracks, rapping, and showing off to my friends. Thanks for posting this review. Ever hear of TriviaTunes? It's a fun name-that-tune- game. Check it out!

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