|Title:||Guitar Hero on Tour|
|Lesbian Content :||None|
Can the fun of holding a plastic guitar and pressing fake frets transfer to a tiny handheld like the Nintendo DS, let’s find out.
Guitar Hero on Tour is essentially a handheld version of Guitar Hero for home consoles. Video gaming is about money and money can make developers come up with some fairly ingenious ways of porting games to formats that would otherwise be unable to run them. The Guitar Hero on Tour control peripheral – Guitar Grip - clips into your Nintendo DS GBA Slot and features 4 colored buttons that mimic the guitar frets seen on the larger console versions of the game. Strumming is done with a guitar pick / stylus that you strum across the touch screen. This play mechanic works well, though one imagines those with larger hands may struggle ever so slightly with the ergonomically designed fret board. As with all the Guitar Hero games, colored notes scroll down the screen and it’s your job as player to hold in the corresponding colored button and strum at the right moment. Oh and on a side note, if you’re left handed – like me – there’s a lefty mode that flips everything over so you can play no problem.
Gampeplay settings consist of 4 levels – as is generally the case in Guitar Hero – Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. The harder the difficulty setting the more notes are flung at you. The more notes you hit correctly, the better your score and so it goes. There’s even ‘Star Power’ – a special score multiplier – which is activated by touching any face button or yelling into the DS mic. Herein lays our first major issue with the game, why oh why weren’t the shoulder buttons implemented for Star Power, they’re far easier to hit when strapped into the Guitar Grip and would have meant you don’t have to halt your strumming to do so. The mic is okay, but who wants to be yelling into the mic when on the subway or bus with onlookers already baffled at your strange Braille like typing. Here’s hoping Guitar Hero on Tour 2 – not announced but we’re sure is coming – uses those dang shoulder buttons!
Another issue we had was the Guitar Grip detaching from one of our DS’s. It’s as though the GBA slot is looser or something. This is annoying as you need to turn off and start again. It worked perfectly fine in another DS though, with no movement noted, so maybe it’s the luck of the draw. Oh and watch out for hand cramp if you're playing it for a long time. Youch.
But what about the fun….
Alright so we’ve said a few negative things, is the game fun? In a word ‘Yes’, it’s a heap of fun and certainly does well to retain the style / feel of gameplay inherent in the Guitar Hero franchise. The song list isn’t exhaustive and you’ll play through it in a couple of hours on Easy, but it’s astounding so many full songs fit on the tiny DS – even if the sound quality isn’t that great.
Longevity is helped along by the multi-player mode where two guitar heroes can meet up locally and battle things out in many and varied ways (co-op and versus), though not all great, they are inventive and do make the most of the DS.
For the Lesbians…
There’s no lesbians in Guitar Hero on Tour, well none that are out of the closet in a Melissa Etheridge kind of way, still there's plenty of grrl punk there, albeit on a tiny screen.
You know there are two ways this review can go, so it’s actually a fairy tough call when trying to be fair. Guitar Hero on Tour is pure genius on the one hand, whilst dishing up a load of mediocre songs on the other. On ‘Easy’ you’ll have it finished in a couple of hours, you’ll also notice a lot of the well known songs appear at the beginning of play to sort of lure you into a false sense of security. Graphically this is a nicely put together package, though it’s not mind-blowing (but what Guitar Hero games are). There are multiple rockers, guitars and a few venues as well as plenty to unlock. Sound quality isn’t great, but it’s astounding these are full songs with full vocals. Replay value will really depend on if you like upping the difficulty and replaying the same songs over.
That said Guitar Hero on Tour is a load of fun and the design of the peripheral is really cool (provided you have a DS it fits snuggly into!). In the box you’ll also find an adapter so you can even play this on the old Nintendo DS – pre Lite, which is a nice touch. Vicarious Visions has done a really sweet job of carrying the big screen Guitar Hero ethos onto a handheld, which in itself is no mean feat and should definitely be applauded.
Is it worth the asking price, for quality alone, sure thing. If you’d love to have the Guitar Hero feel on your handheld, you’ve got it with Guitar Hero on Tour. If on the other hand you think Guitar Hero is a bit passé and you’re over the whole thing, give it a miss.