They say you should never judge a book by its cover, and while the old ad age is often correct, in the case of Skip a Beat maybe I should have just stopped at the cover.

Skip a Beat is the world’s first game to use your heart rate as the game controller. By placing your finger over your cameras flash, your heart rate is measured by the light passing through your skin allowing the game to continuously monitor your bpm and use it in real-time during gameplay.

From there you take control of a frog on a mission to save his princess. On your way to her you must avoid a small variety of enemies while collecting bugs as a score bonus. The game plays as an endless runner, akin to Helicopter (or Flappy Bird for you youngins).

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The selling point ‘…world’s first game that uses your actual heart rate as the game controller.’ is a bit of a farce, however. Skip a Beat uses your heart rate but simply as a score multiplier.

When you start a game you can select between 56-70bpm, 70-80bpm and 80-98bpm; keeping your heart rate within the chosen bpm range earns you points at a significantly quicker rate.

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While Skip a Beat is an interesting take on the endless runner, the game itself doesn’t play particularly well. The gimmick is clearly the selling point here. And considering the oversaturation of endless runners in the app store, $2.30 is a bit steep for what you are getting.

Despite my criticism of the game, I truly like the concept of using your heart rate to control the game – it’s what drew me in initially and compelled me to write this Empire App Spotlight.

Horror game, Nevermind, is attempting something similar by controlling the game’s terror through your heart rate. Using biofeedback to control or influence a game is very intriguing, and despite my criticism, we need pioneers like Nevermind and Skip a Beat to influence the rest of the industry.

I would like to see Happitech B.V. license the tech to other developers to see what they can do with it. Skip a Beat feels more like a proof of concept than a game I actually see myself coming back to.

If you are interested in trying the game out for yourself, or just want to know your heart rate BPM, you can download it here (iOS only).