If you like the look of Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero On Tour but don’t have room in your house or the spending power to shell out on all those instruments, Ultimate Band may be something worth checking out. The game lets you play through a number of teen-friendly songs as the bass player, guitarist, drummer or front man or girl and each role in the band involves various gestures using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck.
This being a Disney game, it’s all very colourful with big-headed, young looking characters practicing in their garage and playing through a number of competitions until they make it to the stadiums and play to bigger crowds. You can also change the look of your band members by earning new clothes and accessories.
So, onto those gestures then. Similar to Rock Band etc, each role involves a timeline with notes you have to hit running from top to bottom or left to right. Linked to these notes are gesture icons which mix things up a bit as you attempt to hit all the notes and get a perfect score. Bass and lead guitar try to simulate actually holding a guitar as you strum along to the music and to mix things up a bit there are gestures to complete at certain times and combinations of finger presses to get used to on the C and Z buttons . Playing guitar is ok but the game really shines when you play the drums. Because you’re basically air drumming whilst holding the controllers, it really feels like you’re drumming along to the song and there are various flairs and flourishes to perform as you go. Frontman is possibly the weakest of the four modes as you don’t actually sing, just clap and gesture to ‘work the crowd’ into a frenzy.
There’s a fair selection of songs in there but they’re not a patch on the classics of Rock Band and Guitar Hero and the game’s probably a bit too easy for adults. However, this is definitely a game the kids will enjoy even though you do have to play through the same songs using different instruments to make true progress which can get a bit samey.
Although it’s certainly not as fun as playing actual instrument peripherals, it’s certainly an option if you or your kids fancy a rhythm game but don’t want to hire a roadie to look after all your plastic guitars, microphones and drum kits. It gets 6 out of 10.
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