Magic Guitar Review

Our Review by Michael Halloran on December 28th, 2011
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: PRICEY MAGIC
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Magic Guitar turns any iPhone into a simulated guitar that gives users a chance to play along with some of their favorite songs. However, playing those songs can come at a hefty price through in-app purchases.

Developer: Smule
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S

iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Playtime: Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Re-use Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

There is a lot of good that can be said about music apps from Smule. The developers have created several “magic” apps that turn an iPhone into a musical instrument. Magic Guitar is a great addition to the family and incorporates a lot of the same unique aspects from other Smule apps.

Much like Magic Piano, the objective in Magic Guitar is to tap the screen at the correct time with the beat of the song to produce the guitar sound. Neon blue dots of different sizes float across the screen and must be touched at the right moment and held down for different lengths of time, depending on the size of the dot. Points are awarded depending on how well users time their strikes on the dots. Sound familiar? (Hint: think Guitar Hero). One cool feature of the app is users can add some vibrato to each note by shaking the device. Also, sliding a finger on the screen as a dot approaches can bend notes, which adds some variety to each song.

Magic Guitar comes loaded with a few sample songs and more songs can be bought for additional Shred credits. The catch is there doesn’t seem to be any way to gain Shred credits by playing the game. Shred is only awarded through in-app purchases or by signing up for promotional offers from sponsors. This aspect of the app is very disappointing to me and it turns me off to an otherwise great experience. I really don’t like this business model for apps and I wish there was some other way to earn more songs to play. I would be more than happy to pay an up-front price for the app in order to have the ability to earn Shred by getting high scores.

As with all Smule music apps, the interface in Magic Guitar presents a minimalistic, black background with neon dots. I really like the interface and I think it creates a friendly environment for users. I also like how the interface is positioned because it allows users to cradle their iPhones in their hands like the neck of a guitar to simulate the feeling of actually playing a guitar.

There are a lot of good things to say about this free app, but I am disappointed that I am not able to play more popular songs than what comes preloaded without purchasing more Shred credits. Additional songs cost anywhere from 25 to 75 Shred. That means the cheapest $1.99 in-app purchase for 160 Shred will only buy a few additional songs. I do think the app is very well made and well executed, but the additional costs really deter me from wanting to return to play.

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