Developer: Activision
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3G, iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Guitar Hero has made its long overdue appearance on the iPhone after having been available on several other mobile platforms. Unfortunately, the wait hasn’t been worth it, as Guitar Hero is just disappointing, particularly when compared to other similar established games on the App Store.

The setup is the same as pretty much every Guitar Hero game – you play the matching colored fret as the notes come down the track. The iPhone version contains no strumming, just tapping of the fret to play the note, with certain notes being linked by a purple line that you can slide across instead of playing each individual one. The iPhone version’s prominent new feature are notes delineated by arrows that that you must slide from originating fret to where the arrow ends, and these notes often come back to back. The only game mode is a quick play mode where you play each song individually in the 4 traditional Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert difficulties on either guitar or bass.

Guitar Hero is far more about customization than Rock Band on the iPhone is, allowing you to deck out a character in a variety of fantastical designs and accessories, many of which can be unlocked through challenges in the game. As well, the game lets you actually see your player performing when you play on the more powerful 3GS-level and up hardware, but you still see static images of your character on the less powerful devices.

That’s where the positives end. The interface is cramped and never feels comfortable on neither an iPhone-sized device nor on the iPad running in 2X mode. As well, the new sliding mechanic, while it takes time to get used to, never stops feels like it was merely inserted to differentiate the game on the iPhone from other platforms’ versions, and it doesn’t add to the entertainment value or authenticity of the game. The track list is also disappointing, featuring only 6 songs for $2.99, and is largely composed of modern rock songs and Queen’s “We Are The Champions.” As well, the game’s lack of any kind of career mode makes the game’s only real replay value come from the $1.99 song packs that can be purchased.

However, Guitar Hero cannot be accused of inaccuracy to its console brethren; it will be popular based on the name alone, while other games do similar types of gameplay in a superior way, much like the console versions. Rhythm game fans would do much better to stick with Rock Band and the Tap Tap series, as Guitar Hero is just a flashy bundle of mediocrity.

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