|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Novarama||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Dreamcatcher||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 3, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Musically, Monster Band is a mixed bag in the broadest sense of the phrase. The instrumental Muzak-style covers are catchy and enjoyable, even if they're a far cry from the material you'll find in other rhythm games. The inclusion of pop hits like Britney Spears' "Toxic," and Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" sort of make sense, but they seem a little out of place next to a classical tune like Pachelbel's "Canon" and timeless, well-known jingles like the "Can Can," "The Entertainer," and even "Pennsylvania Polka." Even stranger, you can also rock out to Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus," Queen's "I Want to Break Free," and the theme from Ghostbusters, among others. The musical selection is downright bizarre, though it's a surprisingly entertaining mix and the sound quality is very good.
After tackling the main game, you can noodle around with any of the instruments in Free Play Mode. Here, you'll apply different sounds and styles to the main instruments that you unlock throughout the main game. The variety isn't huge, but there are enough unique sound styles for the piano, drums, and guitar/bass to find some you'll enjoy playing with. A simple clicking or drum track can be applied (or other instruments when playing drums) to give you something to play along to. This mode is essentially just a musical toy. If you're feeling creative, a limited composing mode lets you record and save your own custom-made songs in three different slots. Each tune has four possible tracks you can record on using any instrument, and it's relatively easy to use. Single and multi-cart options let you jam with friends or face-off in competitive play.
Monster Band certainly has its limitations, both as a musical toy and as a rhythm game. Unsuspecting buyers might pick it up expecting one thing only to realize they've been given something completely different when they get home and actually try it out. Older players may very well find the game's kiddie vibe irritating, but the gameplay is solid regardless. This is a good pick for the younger gamers or casual players in your life. Beware, you just might find yourself enjoying it too.
CCC Staff Contributor