Rock Band for iPhone review

Rock Band redefined music games, becoming an overnight sensation that let you jam out to popular tunes with your friends. Without the fake plastic instruments, the shared embarrassment of turning you living room into a karaoke lounge, and the fun of playing music with your friends, what are you left with?

The tapping monotony of the iPhone version of Rock Band from Electronic Arts. To wit: Rock Band for the iPhone does for the Rock Band franchise what Creed did for rock music.

It’s not that Rock Band for the iPhone is bad, it’s just that it’s disappointing.

The game translates much of what made the franchise so exciting - popular rock songs from a variety of eras and artists - and then mixes in easy-to-understand controls, a sleek interface, and the alluring ability to play as one of four instruments (bass, vocals, guitar, and drums).

You start off with 15 songs (including singles by Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Blondie, and many others) and can then unlock additional songs or buy song packs in 99-cent/59p installments through in-app purchases.

But as extensive as the song list is, and as beautiful as the game looks, Rock Band is fundamentally about letting the player feel like a rock star. Here, sadly, is where Rock Band gets booed off the stage.

The controls vary from predictable retreads to ghastly bastardizations. If you play guitar or bass, you simply tap the screen with your fingers at the appropriate time and earn extra points for enabling power boosts when you’ve collected enough energy. You can pause the game and pick up shortly before your next note a nice accommodation to the short playing sessions of the iPhone.

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