Guitar Hero and Rock Band are two of the most innovative console games of the last ten years. Now you can enjoy the wonders of virtual instruments on the go, by installing Rock Band on your iPhone.
I must admit I had a touch of stage fright before playing this, because I was worried about how it could recreate the magic of the Rock Band experience on a small screen. The console version is played with lifelike instruments that you plug into your PlayStation or XBox, whereas the iPhone of Rock Band is just played by tapping your fingers on the screen. How on Earth could it be as fun as the original?
Of course, it would never be the same as playing with the full Rock Band kit, but the iPhone version is a lot more fun and responsive than I was anticipating. You get to choose from four different instruments - bass, guitar, drums, and vocals - and all of them are excellently presented. From the animations above the game board to the vibrant neon colors, the graphics are almost worthy of a console - and the sound is superb too.
Your fingers and thumbs are used to hit the notes, and though it takes a while to get used to the fairly small buttons, it is in the main, a comfortable control system. There are all kinds of special power-ups and extras, such as the 'Overdrive' feature, which is activated by flicking your phone once the power meter has reached a certain level.
There's enough for variety in Rock Band to keep you amused for ages. For example, the World Tour mode allows you to take your band on the road, playing different songs across six different venues around the World. The aim is to hit as many right notes as you can in order to gain fans, and stars and unlock new levels and tracks.
There are 24 tracks in Rock Band. You can choose from any of them in the Quick Play menu, or unlock them one-by-one in World Tour mode. The tracks are of mixed quality. There are some real classics from the likes of Foo Fighters, Blondie, Blink 182 and Smashing Pumpkins. However, there are also some real stinkers and stuff you probably haven't heard of before. There is a music store included in the game though, so you can download extra tracks if you get a bit tired of the default offering.
There's also a multiplayer mode, where you can team up, in true Rock Band style to make music with your friends. Unfortunately, though, this can only be done locally over Bluetooth or WiFi. I would've liked the option to be able to play against someone else anywhere in the World, rather than just those in my vicinity.
This said, Rock Band is easily one of the most fun to play iPhone games of this year, and sets new standards in mobile/console crossovers.
- Adjustments and improvements include bug fixes and increased stability