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Drop a beat: Roland’s iconic 808 drum machine is now a mobile game

If you’ve ever heard pop music — at all — chances are very good that you’ve heard a Roland TR-808 drum machine, even if you didn’t know it. The 808 was a staple of early hip-hop, electronic music, and even fusion rock and is still used to this day. Now the legendary rhythm generator is coming to mobile devices in the form of the new game TR-REC.

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While the game could technically be called a rhythm game, it’s basically a tiny version of the TR-808 inside your phone or tablet. Players are tasked with matching a rhythm by entering the inputs for various percussion just as you would on a real drum machine. The catch? Time is running out, and if you don’t match the rhythm quickly, you lose a life.

If you do match the rhythm on time, you’ll be given an extra input that, once matched, adds a drum fill to your composition. Once a level ends you’ll be given a score, and if you want to top that score, you’ll need to complete the matches even faster next time.

The entire focus is entering rhythms as quickly as possible, but you don’t need to enter them in time with the music that plays in the background. This is what makes TR-REC different from most rhythm games. Think of it as a music game for the rhythmically-challenged — with some of the most iconic electronic sounds ever laid down (programmed?).

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TR-REC features 16 songs and 48 stages, which is plenty for those looking to kill some time here and there. The only downside is that there is no equivalent of a “free play” mode, meaning that you can’t use TR-REC as an actual drum machine for your own compositions. Here’s hoping that Roland eventually releases this mode as an add-on, since after playing the game, you’ll essentially know how to program an 808.

The TR-REC app is available for both iOS and Android and is a free download in the App Store and the Google Play Store right now.