THQ Battle of the Bands
- Interesting take on the rhythm game genre, stylistic renditions of each song are awesome
- Not as deep or as addictive as Rock Band or Guitar Hero, graphics and story are forgettable
It won't topple the "big two", but it's fun—a good choice for casual or younger gamers.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
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You have to hand it to Planet Moon Studios: instead of trying to compete directly with the insanely popular Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises, they wisely chose to side-step the competition by offering up a rhythm game experience that's unique and different. Although it won't make you want to give up your fake drums and guitars, Battle of the Bands is a charming title that's definitely worth "listening" to.
Battle of the Bands focuses less on replicating an authentic musical experience and more on offering you a solid rhythm game. You control the game entirely with the Wii Remote. As notes scroll along a familiar-looking fret board, you move the Remote in one of six ways to the rhythm: down, left, right, thrust, small squiggle (rapidly moving the Remote side to side) and large squiggle (same as the small squiggle but bigger). As you chain moves together, you can unleash one of three attacks, which you can cycle through on the fly using the A button, to harry your opponent. These run the gamut from simple electric attacks to a devious smokescreen that obscures their playing field for a few seconds. You can also activate a shield with the B button, which lets you deflect your opponent's attack.
Sweet, sweet victory
Scoring successful attacks also sways the style of the music in your favour during the battles. Say, for instance, that you're playing as a goth band (there are 11 bands and five musical styles in total): as you gain the upper hand, the song will change to reflect your sinister style. If your opponents score enough hits, they grab control of the music. It adds an interesting layer to the gameplay, and it helps that the varied interpretations are amusing—my favourite was the marching-band version of Cypress Hill's "Insane In The Membrane"—and expertly performed.
Just be warned that the controls are a little fickle and require you to be pretty flagrant with your motions, so prepare to suffer sore wrists. The graphics are just passable, serving as mere backdrop and nothing more; the same can be said for the game's rather forgettable storyline.
We got the beat
I have to admit that I was initially sceptical of Battle of the Bands. But after playing through it, I'm convinced that it can find its own niche. It's a fun little title that will prove especially pleasing to those who can't wrap their heads around Rock Band or Guitar Hero. It doesn't have the addictive staying power of those two heavyweight franchises, but it's an accessible rhythm game that's perfect for the casual gamer and younger rock-god wannabes.
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