EA Rock Band for iPhone - First Look

EA's Rock Band has been rocking the gaming world with its four player band action on the PS3 and Xbox 360 for some time now. EA is clearly hoping that success will translate to a mobile phone version available on the iPhone and iPod touch with the launch of Rock Band for the iPhone and iPod touch. But will it be any good, are you going to strum your way to success on the train, and what about the vocal elements? We managed to get a sneak peak of the new title before its official launch in the App Store.

If you are wondering where you are going to plug in the guitar, bass, drums and microphone, don't. That's right, this is a mobile game designed for a touchscreen phone rather than something on your console. That means there are no accessories, and no having to drag a guitar on the bus or train to work. Instead everything is controlled via you tapping your fingers in tune to the music at the relevant moment, like Guitar Hero on the DS.

As you might expect the game's core values and approach are still here and that means you get to choose up to 20 songs initially to "Rock" to.

The game itself is broken down into a number of different elements; quick play, world tour, multiplayer and a music store that allows you to buy additional songs to play. All are self-explanatory, but the one you will be attempting to play the most is the Multiplayer mode.

Here you get to play up to three other players (four in total) just as you can in the console version. You can connect to other iPods or iPhones via a Bluetooth or wireless connection although for the Wi-Fi they have to be on the same local network.

Players can then grab an "instrument" and start tapping away in tune to the music that blurts out of the speakers or your headphones.

With three difficulty levels and the ability for players to choose different level settings, you should be able to cajole other mates in on the action as long as they have bought the game as well. Disappointingly the vocal selection doesn't require you to sing into your phone or iPod (something to do with EA not believing people would be happy doing that on public transport - what do they know?), but it's still good fun.

Graphics are basic but effective and in our multiplayer gaming session with a spokesperson from EA the game played with zero lag across a Bluetooth connection.

On it's own Rock Band is fun, but short-lived. While our play was brief you could see that unless you like the repetitive nature of tapping on a screen then you'll soon get bored. That said, the multiplayer element is much more fun. While you don't get the bonus of real instruments, you still get to play with you mates on the back of the bus, helping each other out, and generally knowing that you have a better fingering action than your mate.

Verdict

With pricing details yet to be confirmed, but confirmation from EA that it is likely to be in line with other "premium" games they offer, if you're a Rock Band fan who has an iPhone this will allow you to take the action on the road.

There is no connection with the console version, i.e., you can't share songs, but with 20 to get you started and the ability to buy more from a dedicated music store, this should give you plenty of entertainment, especially when you get your mates involved.

Rock Band for iPhone is expected out at the end of October.



>