Ultimate Band Preview
Wii | DS
Ultimate Band box art
System: DS, Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Fall Line 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Disney Interactive 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 25, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Break Out the Wallet: The Kids Might Want This
by Ryan Kerst

July 31, 2008 - Disney Interactive has decided that musically inclined games are the market they want to tap into next. Not a bad idea, especially considering that since November 2005, the genre has turned itself into a multi-billion dollar money-making machine. Ultimate Band looks like it is poised to take its fair share of the market this holiday season by seemingly moving away from the simulation area to a more all-around game where party fun is the target.

Ultimate Band screenshot

It's still a little early to tell, but all the pieces are there for this game to really be a hit with small children all the way up to those secretive air guitar playing adults. The Nintendo Wii version of Ultimate Band will feature the option for one to four players to create a band and start playing gigs first in garages and over time in internationally renowned venues. Players have the option of playing as a drummer, lead and bass guitarists, or front man, though no vocals are involved or added peripherals.

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It's still a little early to tell, but all the pieces are there for this game to really be a hit with small children all the way up to those secretive air guitar playing adults. The Nintendo Wii version of Ultimate Band will feature the option for one to four players to create a band and start playing gigs first in garages and over time in internationally renowned venues. Players have the option of playing as a drummer, lead and bass guitarists, or front man, though no vocals are involved or added peripherals.

Ultimate Band screenshot

Another interesting feature is the player enabled/controlled emote system. Based upon player movements, the character on screen will do certain tricks during downtime for their particular instrument, taking some of the dull moments away from a particularly long guitar solo, and letting everyone stay involved. The bass guitar, generally for the beginners of the music game area, actually looks to have a very cool way to play. The C, Z, and C+Z buttons are effectively the notes for the bass, but bass players will have to move their Nunchuk up and down to simulate movement on the neck of a real guitar. The new features look like a lot of fun and we'll have to see what else pops up between now and release.

A few things that Ultimate Band may lack in are a challenging difficulty for diehard Guitar Hero and Rock Band fans, a confusing interface when things are moving around a lot, and incomplete recognition of instrumental motions as well as some other picky issues. Experts of the previously mentioned games will likely not find the rush of a challenge with Ultimate Band. Still, the new playing style, which allows a bit more freedom, could still be worth the time to play. The actual on-screen playing could turn a bit confusing to a younger audience, though, which could quickly leave the game on the shelf. It's too early to tell. It isn't too early to say that there will be a lot of motion, bright lights, and colors moving around on screen. Another issue some people might have is many if not all movements are registered with the game. This issue is very unlikely to be a problem, but could become a nuisance if playing at a distance from the Wii is a habit. Finally, the music in the game is going to be covered and not a master recording. To counter this, Disney Interactive has been working to allow for both a male and female singer part, depending on the chosen gender of the front man/woman, to fill in the vocals for songs. This feature will likely turn out to work in the end, though losing the master recording for instrumental purposes could be interesting if new parts are written well, or fail miserably if left to wander too much.

Ultimate Band screenshot

The DS version looks to be just as interesting as its Wii counterpart. DS players can join together to start their own band and rock together on classic songs or, potentially the really great or disappointing part, create and play their own songs with customized instrument parts. The idea sounds great, but it's hard to not see this feature being very limited when the game comes out. Hopefully, this prediction will be wrong.

To sum this preview up, Ultimate Band will likely be near impossible to find on shelves this holiday season. Music entertainment with preteens and teens is huge right now, and playing it with friends with smaller, hand-friendly instruments and popular music screams out potential for hours of fun. Hardcore music game fans will likely shy away at first for a lack of the standard play style and difficulty, but don't be surprised if you see them taking a long look and eventually playing after seeing the game, just for a test run of course. Be sure to check back for updates as we get closer to a release.

By Ryan Kerst
CCC Freelance Writer


Game Features:

  • Perform timeless classics and today's hottest songs with intuitive rhythm gameplay.
  • Create and perform unique compositions using the DS touch screen and stylus to "play" lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, and drums.
  • Play with friends across the two different Nintendo platforms via Wii/DS Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Includes DGamer - the first-of-its-kind online community exclusively for Disney gamers. Customize unique 3-D avatars, create a persistent profile, earn in-game honors, unlock exclusive Disney content and chat with other gamers via the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Ultimate Band screenshot - click to enlarge Ultimate Band screenshot - click to enlarge

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