Rock Band is back, albeit in a slightly different form. No longer will you be strumming plastic guitars or playing to the beat on a set of plastic drums. Instead the PlayStation or Xbox controller is now the tool of choice and while it follows many of the same principles, Rock Band Blitz is a different beast to its long distant cousins.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that Rock Band Blitz is just a clever ploy to sell more music for Harmonix, after all, the music game genre did fall flat on its face years ago, leaving companies such as this one wondering what to do next. Thankfully for Harmonix, it has continued to innovate, bringing titles such as Dance Central to the masses and saving itself from some no doubt bad times. In this respect, Harmonix has innovated once more, Rock Band Blitz is no cash in, but a clever take on what was once a very popular genre.
So Harmonix has turned its attention to the music genre once more, sticking with the Rock Band name and hoping that there are enough fans out there waiting to pounce on this downloadable diamond. There is certainly plenty of incentive to do so if you are a Rock Band fan, since any track you have purchased in the past is available for you to use within Blitz. Add the 25 strong tracklist included within this game and you certainly won't have a lack of music to Rock out to, even if it isn't the most easiest game in the world to play.
So what's Rock Band Blitz all about then? Well if you've ever played Rock Band Unplugged on the PSP, you'll already have an idea. Basically, the aim of the game is to play along to the music while utilising all five instruments (drum, guitar, bass, mic and keyboard, all represented by their own section on the screen). To do this you use the shoulder buttons to cycle between section as the music scrolls down the screen, just as it did in previous Rock Band games. Once you are on the desired section you then use the D-Pad and face buttons to play the desired note. In theory it's a very simple game to play, that is until it starts, at which point you'll need to concentrate with everything you have in order to get your way through the song. As with the previous games in the series, when you get the song right, you'll feel great - like a rockstar. When you get it wrong though, it's oh so difficult to get back in the rhythm again.
There is some strategy involved in playing Rock Band Blitz. For instance, you'll need to use all of the sections involved in the song. If you do this well then you'll increase the multiplier for each, which in turn will grant you a temporary multiplier for the next section of the song. This may come across as a little confusing, however once you play the game you'll soon see that it's not quite as complicated as it sounds.
As you'd expect from a downloadable game, Rock Band Blitz is all about challenging your friends. You'll constantly be reminded how well you are doing in comparison to your friends and no matter how well you do, there always seems to be someone better on the leaderboards. Thankfully there is always a way to get more points in each song, so some perseverance should see you do just that.
Rock Band Blitz does have the ability to link to Facebook, allowing you to boast to friends about your latest score. It's no Autolog, but at least it's a way of notifying friends that you have bested them. It's also a way for Harmonix to spread the word about the game too I guess, so if you fancy spamming your timeline then I'm sure they'll be grateful.
To me Rock Band Blitz is a good, fun game. I like the fact that I can use my back catalogue when playing through. I also enjoy the fact that I can play Rock Band without dusting off the plastic instruments. To me though, Rock Band Blitz feels more like it was build with a portable device in mind. I can't help but think just how great this game would be on PS Vita. I loved Rock Band Unplugged on PSP and this has the same feel. Maybe Harmonix have this planned, who knows? But it they don't then in my opinion they're missing a trick.
Fo what it is, Rock Band Blitz is certainly worth the money, especially from a Rock Band fans point of view. It may not be perfect, but it's all we have and for that I'm grateful.
Review Policy (Version tested: Xbox LIVE/Xbox 360)