Reviewed: November 19, 2009
Released: November 3, 2009
LEGO seems to be catching up with Coke and Pepsi as one of the more established brand names around the world. I had no idea just how popular LEGO’s were until I started reading the various bits of trivia that pop-up during the load screens in LEGO Rock Band. Yes, I said LEGO Rock Band. After invading franchises like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Batman, LEGO is putting its unique kid-friendly spin on video gaming’s most popular music franchise. With plenty of cute graphics, and a family-approved song list, plus some easy note tracks and a Super Easy kid mode, what’s not to like?|
Part track pack, part “mod” LEGO Rock Band comes with 45 songs that parents won’t be embarrassed to have their kids playing and singing along to. The designers have tapped into popular kid-friendly source material such as animated films like Shrek 2 and Cars, and even fun live action soundtracks like Ghostbusters. Here are the songs included with LEGO Rock Band:
The game will also import any DLC you may have downloaded for your other Rock Bands games, but not all of it. It seems there is some sort of E10+ filter that will screen out any of the “questionable” music. For those who enjoy the music without the cute LEGO interface you can import the LEGO track list into Rock Band 2 for $10. The game supports any Rock Band instruments as well as a few third-party products and even my Rock Band Stage Lighting Kit.
The songs are not only kid-friendly in content, but their note streams and overall difficulty have been toned down to appeal to the younger audience. This means that experienced Rock Band musicians will need to step up their difficulty one or two levels if they want any sort of challenge. Other than that, everything else in LEGO Rock Band is identical to previous games in the series.
The presentation has been given the extreme LEGO facelift starting from LEGO blocks replacing the notes to the wacky variations of characters that you can create using a modified version of the character creation utility to the built-in cast of LEGO rockers like David Bowie. You’ll earn tons of bricks (the currency in LEGO Rock Band) that you can use to buy new characters, both musicians, and members of your road crew, management, and PR team. Not only do you need to work the stage, you also have to work the business side of the music industry.
The menus and interface are cleverly disguised as a Rock Band Lair with multiple areas that you can decorate with all sorts of LEGO style furniture, objects, posters, and fixtures. You can create theme rooms or just go crazy and stick anything anywhere. The whole idea is to spend all those bricks you are earning while playing the music to modify the experience when you aren’t.
You will also get to purchase vehicles ranging from a van and a tour bus to helicopters and hovercrafts. These will get you to new venues where you will find new stages and set lists. It’s all laid out much like earlier Rock Band games with some songs laid out, while other set lists can be assembled on the fly, and others are mysteries. Each venue has a signature event that plays out like a major music video such as a fantastic haunted house video during “Ghostbusters” or a construction yard demolition set to “Tick Tick Boom!”
LEGO Rock Band is definitely a niche product aimed for a very specific audience. I would normally say that audience is the 8-12 crown, but I’ve seen the video of that 8-year old kid playing guitar on Expert, so I can only conclude this game is for parents looking to exercise a bit of content control over their sheltered kids. There are a few songs in this package that will appeal to teens and adults, but they likely won’t endure the LEGO front-end to play them, and even if you do pay the $10 to export these songs into Rock Band 2, the note streams are still way too easy for experience players.
LEGO Rock Band is perfect for little kids, (and possibly their grandparents) who aren’t very good at those other music games, but would like to at least pretend they can play. I suppose the game will ultimately find its limited audience, but for the majority, this is a track pack of fun, lighthearted, and easy songs wrapped up in a LEGO-style design that is starting to wear out its welcome.