Monday, March 2, 2009

Mobile Game Review: Rock Revolution

Do you love Rock Band and the Guitar Hero series? Are you secretly a rocker at heart, even though you need to hide that personality under a suit? Did you recently win the air-guitar championship in your community? If you answered yes to any of those questions, or simply like the way they were worded, then a new cell phone game from Konami Mobile is perfect for you.

Rock Revolution is a new game for cell phones that is made in the spirit of Rock Band and Guitar Hero. You grab a guitar, a mic, or a pair of drum sticks and just press buttons to meet your cue in this rhythmatic based adventure. With several different personalities, from a punk with piercings and a mean-steak, to the guitarist who is pompous and eccentric, you can play any way that you want. Rock Revolution puts the feel of console games on your AT&T, Verizon Wireless, or T-Mobile phone for a small price.

Rock Revolution is a good take on the rhythm based band games that are out currently for consoles. While it has less of an encompassing feel, it accomplishes a similar game play and style as those games. It does all of this while running on a phone, which, I am betting is worse then your home console (unless you have a Commodore 64). The game is slightly addictive and is a good time waster, just like the full console versions. Rock Revolution is probably an even better take on the genre then Tap Tap is for the iPhone.

One of the things that I like about Rock Revolution is the fact that I am able to pick any of four instruments to play. I can be the lead guitarist, and shred the riffs. I can be the bass, knocking down that rhythm. I can be the drummer, twirling my sticks and rocking out. Or I can be the lead singer, simply singing and strutting my stuff. No matter what position I want to be in the band, save that of a tambourine player, I can do it. This is a nice feature as it lets me experience the game play from different angles, even though it is the same song.

Another nice feature is the different characters. Sure, you can pick characters in Rock Band and Guitar Hero, but they really do not change anything; in those games, they simply change your look, not your skill set or styles. In Rock Revolution, however, the characters that you pick actually effect your game play, and your end result. This is a cool little addition, as it acknowledges the eccentricity of most rockers, and it incorporates that. While it is not really needed, this sort of little touch makes the game more enjoyable.

Graphics wise, the game seems to be lacking what you expect from the genre. On the consoles, these instrumental games look exceptionally polished and really neat. On the phone, however, Rock Revolution looked more like a game you would find on the N64 or PS1, not the modernistic consoles. The stage merely flashed, the scenery flat, and the moving circles were small and in low resolution. That said, however, I really do not think that this took much from the overall game; I think that it was on a phone, so of course it looked much worse. As long as you can play the game well, graphics don’t matter that much on a phone.

While the graphics were not a big problem, there were a couple of other problems with Rock Revolution. For starters, I thought that the game was too easy in terms of speed but too hard in terms of accuracy; I know, I know, I complain a lot. During the game play, I rarely had to concentrate on the dots as they were moving slowly and I was able to easily deal with them. While some people who do not text or type as much, or as quickly, as I do might have a problem with this, I believe that the main demographic (teens) will be able to play way too easily. The slowness of the beats was somewhat annoying.

On the other hand, the required accuracy was equally annoying. Sure, I could hit the beats with no problem and memorize them, but actually placing them properly was almost impossible. It seems as though Rock Revolution required you to hit the beat perfectly, which is really hard when looking at tiny dots moving into tiny circles, and any error resulted in a failure. The game seemed less forgiving then others in its genre, and that concerns me a bit (i.e., I did badly).

Overall, I think that Rock Revolution is a good game for teens who like the Rock Band and Guitar Hero genre. For adults, it is not a good game. The game play is decent, though a little picky, and the graphics are what you expect from a cell phone game. However, the ability to pick instruments, and to use different character skill sets, makes this a pretty good game. If they dropped the price tag ($3.99 for subscription, $7.99 for unlimited) a bit I think that it would be even better.

Rock Revolution has not been rated by the ESRB. The game is currently available on AT&T, Verizon Wireless, or T-Mobile phones.

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