Reviewed: January 2, 2011
Released: December 2, 2010
App Store Price: $4.99
Iíve been a big fan of music games over the years including Harmonixís first plastic guitar wonder but more importantly their introduction of Rock Band. Rock Band revolutionized the way that people experienced music together in the living room and now they have done it again on the mobile front with the release of Rock Band Reloaded for the iPhone. Iím an avid player of some of the best music game apps on the iTunes market, including the original Rock Band, so Iím no stranger to the scene.|
Rock Band Reloaded features a visually aesthetic interface very similar to that of Rock Band 3 albeit on a much smaller scale. The interface of Reloaded is a definite improvement over the original in pretty much every way. The biggest change comes with the newly implemented landscape mode instead of the original portrait setup. I didnít mind the original design however the smaller tap spots made it a bit harder to hit the notes at times. The new design offers larger hit spots for all the instrument modes which made for a much more enjoyable experience.
The folks over at Harmonix took the original band setup and improved it by adding a new vocal recognition mode. Utilizing the onboard iPhone microphone you can sing to your favorite tunes and see how you rate as a singer. Iíll be the first to admit that I am far from the best singer in the world. Oddly enough I found that I did pretty well for myself. The audio recognition system is remarkably quite good and is spot on to the big console versions complete with the microphone tapping non vocal parts. For those not wanting to be caught dead in public singing or not up to singing there is the touch vocals option, which plays out just like the original Rock Band mobile version.
Rock Band has always been my favorite music rhythm game series over the last several years. I like the excellent music selection and the fact that the notes are usually always spot on to the instruments and vocal tracks. Rock Band Reloaded features several modes of music-geared fun including the casual Quick Play mode, a global spanning World Tour mode and the ultimate band experience in Multiplayer. Quick Play mode is pretty self-explanatory but the real challenge lies in the World Tour mode. The World Tour takes you all over the world like the console versions and is quite enjoyable however it does come with a price.
While you progress though the World Tour, you come across several challenges along the way. These events challenge your abilities by raising the difficulty and choosing the instrument you must play. The downside to this is that after completing the song you are forever locked into that difficulty for the remainder of the tour until the next event happens. This can be a killjoy for some players who wish to stay inside their normal comfort zone as well as end game scenario for those that arenít physically capable of completing the final song on Expert like me.
Graphically, Rock Band Reloaded is pretty pleasing to the eye complete with nicely designed and sharp menus and instrument highways. The overdrive animations are classic Rock Band style and are not at all distracting even on iPhoneís smaller screen. The Retina Display technology definitely brings out the visuals good and bad. The only visuals that were sort of lacks were the band members. They sort of took a step backwards from the previous version and are mostly pixilated and somewhat boxy and plain.
The sound quality however receives full marks from me as you get to enjoy music from a wide variety of artists including Duran Duran, Seether, and Vampire Weekend. Some of these songs you may very well have played in the console or other portable versions and fit in quite well in Rock Band Reloaded. The audio qualities of the song tracks are pretty solid and there wasnít a hint of audio distortion to be found on any of the tracks.
For those seeking to get the full band experience on the go you can connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth with up to 3 other band mates in the Multiplayer mode. Players can either create their own gig or join others for maximum entertainment. You may even pick up a few awards along the way here. Depending on how well you do you will earn pins for doing well even to the point of unlocking achievements such as saving a band mate for failing out.
Rock Band Reloaded comes with 13 core tracks as well as another 12 song tracks to download for free which isnít bad for the $5 dollar price tag. But the fun doesnít stop there. Players can buy more content in 2-song packs available from the in game store for about 99 cents apiece. This will allow for plenty of fun for a while to come. You can even track you world standings via the Facebook integration and post your scores and challenge your friends for the high score.
All in all, Rock Band Reloaded was a pretty solid experience with a few rough spots that while challenging sort of put a hampering on my overall enjoyment of this musical mobile playground. The music was definitely enjoyable; the visuals were solid in some areas though a bit rugged in others. On the upside it has to be the best mobile version to date and is worth a shot if youíre a fan of music games.