Rock Band Blitz review for XBLA, PSN

Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Also On: PSN
Publisher: Harmonix
Developer: Harmonix
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

It wasn?t that long ago that everyone was rocking out at parties, filling up their living rooms and even some bar rooms playing Rock Band ’til the wee hours of the morning. And just as we thought we were out, the developers find a way to pull us back in with Rock Band Blitz? sort of. In Rock Band Blitz, there are no instruments to use in the game as now you play using only your controller. While on the surface the interface seems like a boring timing/button masher, once you dig into it, you will realize just how complex, addicting, and competitive it can be. Sure you don?t have multiplayer, sure you don?t need any musical talent to play, but you do have to have a good ear and sense of timing if you are to rack up big scores, and in Rock Band Blitz, it?s not only about the music, but how high you can score.

The controls in Rock Band Blitz are simple, you have 4 to 5 instruments including drums, bass, guitar, vocals, and if the song has them, keyboard. Each instrument has a left and right note that is fed down to you in rhythm and different patterns to match the beat of the song. For each accurate note you hit you earn points and increase your bonus multiplier. You do however have a maximum cap of how high that multiplayer will grow, but there is a kicker, if you change up your instrument and get all the instruments to their maximum multiplier, you will be awarded with a new cap level at set intervals in the song. The goal obliviously to get the multipliers as high as you can as each note will be worth the most possible. What?s more you don?t have to worry about your accuracy as much as you would as in the original Rock Band, but there is not a level of difficulty selector either, so while you can?t lose, you must be accurate if you are to score some serious points. Other factors to help you deliver a more killer score include accuracy, especially during highlighted notes to activate the Blitz mode, which is like the game?s equivilant to overdrive from Rock Band. Accuracy and the number of stars you earn by song ends will earn you not only a high score, but coins that will enable you to purchase power ups.

Of course there has to be a gimmick involved, and Rock Band delivers it in the form of power ups that you can take advantage of; bearing in mind of course you have the coins to purchase them. They can range to instrument boosters that will double the points for the instrument you choose, to oddball power ups such a pinball that will bounce around and earn points over the notes it hits, to a follow that note power up that if you can accurately follow the colored note until you catch it, you?ll earn big bonus points. The point are nothing more than bragging rights to your friends, but therein lays the competitive portion of the game, which can get fierce.

You can even challenge your friends to a score battle that will allow you to attempt a score, and if your friend can beat it, than you will have a chance to better their score and repeat this until time runs out of the challenge. Other cool features are linking your Gamer Tag to Facebook and logging into the Rock Band Blitz page that will allow you to join even more challenges that will earn you extra coins to utilize those precious power ups. There are solo song challenges, genre challenges, and even community challenges the Harmonix team offers to visitors of the site asking to play certain songs or groups of songs. This feature is just one more reason to sink the needle in very deep into your addiction.

Of course all the songs you have in your Rock Band Library are accessible in Blitz, and you can purchase more from the continually updated Rock Band Store. The game comes loaded with over 20 new songs that you can play from the get go, but you can also add the content to your Rock Band 3 library for free.

All this fun and additional songs for Rock Band 3 for only 15 dollars, you really have no other choice but to buy Rock Band Blitz if you are a fan of music and rhythm style games. Even if you have had your fill of the musical genre, this new take on the game play will make you a fan once again. If you are like me and still get those plastic instruments out every now and again or religiously, this is a no brainer. In short, Rock Band Blitz is a musical bargain.

Grade: B+