Developer: Josh Coen
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

One of the most influential musical genres of all time has to be Blues music. Starting out in the African-American communities of the Deep South, in less than a century it had spread to everything possible influencing the likes of Elvis Presley and The Beatles. That’s not forgetting more traditional Blues music such as the work of B.B King and Duke Ellington.

The Blues app sets out to explain all this in an attractive comic book style rather than a more staid historical app. It tells a very interesting story too. Along the way, amongst the history, is a fascinating discourse of how blues songs are created and what they require to be ‘true’ blues. While I considered myself pretty knowledgeable of the genre, I still came out of reading the comic book feeling as if I’d learnt more.

Throughout the story, a selection of musical accompaniments are included in order to set the scene. They’re quite appropriate for the subject matter but it does come at a cost. Navigating from page to page is slow and cumbersome which seems like it’s down to the time it takes for the next piece of music to play. Unfortunately, it gets annoying quite fast, especially once I found myself engrossed in the story but then had to wait a few seconds to progress to the next page. One other flaw emerges near the end with a list of further reading links looking interesting, but having no functionality to actually click through to them.

These problems are annoying which is a shame as it detracts from the overall quality of the story. Priced at $2.99, it does feel all the more irritating than if the app was more inexpensive. For those looking for an interestingly told historical tale however, I’d still recommend The Blues but I wish it was an easier recommendation to make.

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