Jam Live Music Arcade review for XBLA, PSN

Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Also On: PSN
Publisher: Reverb Publishing / 505 Games
Developer: Zivix
Medium: Digital Download
Players: 1
Online: No

If you would have told me 3 years ago that the music gaming industry would be dead, I would have thought you were crazy.  Alas, look at games that used to be industry staples like Guitar Hero, Karaoke Revolution, and Rock Band? they are now all just pieces of nostalgia that forced you to find a home for tons of plastic instruments.  While it?s true that Rock Band may not quite be dead in the water, and the folks who bring you GLEE have kept Konami?s music boat a-chuggin, but in reality besides a few pop up titles that may try to soak up something from this dried up well, consider this genre to be drained of all unique and cool possibilities.

Jam Live Music Arcade, while DJ inspired at its core, allows you to pull out those old plastic dust collectors and give them one last go round before the trash man takes them for good.  I don?t quite understand why this title screams the usage of these instruments as the game is a DJ game at heart, and then only real implementation of the instruments comes in a forgettable arcade mode. While it is true you will never relive that party experience you had in the Rock Band days, gathering a bunch of friends to make sweet and not so sweet music together, Jam takes this genre into a mixing direction not yet realized before, but it?s just a little too late for the masses to care at the point.  If you are like me and are holding on to that last thread keeping the genre on life support, there is plenty to love about Jam Live Music  Arcade, which is of course you enjoy the genre of music supplied.   This in turn it takes an already lifeless genre and alienates a great portion of music lovers who don?t like DJ inspired rhythms.  Basically, if you enjoy the type of DJ music presented in Jam Live, read on, if not, keep on walking by.

The layout and breakdown of the game is simple, you have 5 banks of music that you can turn on, off, and switch up rhythms trying to re-create music like a good DJ does best.  You have drums, guitar, keys, vocals, and bass all to tinker with while cranking along to the premade song you selected.  The breakdown of on/off switches, bank changes, and whatnot will allow you to provide a good amount of originality and up to 75 different versions of the song you selected.  You can even record your jam for keepsake and bragging rights.  The pacing of Jam Live Music Arcade is a lot more frantic than DJ Hero, but if you use your musical instrument or controller you may not feel like a DJ, but producing the new sounds is more accessible with the simplistic layout even if you are pressed for time to get the sound you want.  The track building is entertaining enough, but the game?s other mishaps which include a drab layout, unappealing visual style, and a been there done that arcade mode will quickly drain on you and will grow stale the more you play, especially with the limited track list provided.

The arcade mode is nothing more than a Guitar Hero/Rock Band knock off that honestly deserves less words about it than I?m currently writing.  Let?s just say they should have just stuck with the Jam portion of the game, added more songs, and let the fans enjoy the game for what it is. Instead, the developers added a trite arcade mode that will try and squeeze someone who still plays the old music games and dupe them into something less cool, not as interactive, and with a far less appealing soundtrack.

All in all, I can?t really say that Jam Live Music Arcade is worth the 10 dollar price tag if you are looking to keep the music genre alive especially with Rock Band Blitz on the way.  Unless you are just a DJ junkie, there is no reason to touch this title, and if you are, I suggest the trial version to make sure the song selections appeals to your music pallet.  In the end, Jam Live Music Arcade is better than Power Gig, but honestly watching American Idol?s worst auditions are better than playing Power Gig.  This is a DJ game that tries to use your instruments (but not really) one last time in a final attempt to re-re-re-re create the music genre, which just falls flat in the end.

Grade: D+