|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Planet Moon Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April 21, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Battle of the Bands will give players a couple solid hours worth of solo entertainment before the fun begins to ebb. The game is essentially made with multiplayer in mind, and playing against a friend will stretch the rocking action out further than the single-player game. It's also nice to have someone to share the laughs with because the game tosses some truly ridiculous musical combinations and goofy antics at you. The basic controls are particularly useful in this regard, since it's more likely you'll have two Wii Remotes handy than two Guitar Hero peripherals at any given time.
The absence of any substantive story further lends to Battle of the Bands' party-game vibe. There's plenty of rocking to be had in the solo adventure mode, but you'll find little in the way of a decent plot. Brief banter between rival bands prior to musical combat is good for a chuckle or two. Unfortunately, that's about as deep as any character interactions get. They'll either be rocking or blowing the socks of their musical rivals as they work their way up the ranks towards an eventual orchestral boss battle with Mr. Hong, the game's protagonist.
With the likes of Def Leppard, L.L. Cool J, Tenacious D, AFI, Soundgarden, and many more, the 30 licensed cover tracks in Battle of the Bands offer a decent variety of tunes for all manner of discerning tastes. The unusual mash-up combinations between the five different styles makes for some hilarious moments. Listening to the Ramones' Blitzkrieg Bop in alternating marching band and ranchero renditions, for example, is a blast.
Conveniently, all of the songs can be accessed from the start in the multiplayer mode, but this sort of takes the wind out of the solo experience. Even if you're playing on your own, you can skip right to the multiplayer game against the A.I. for some hand-picked throw-down matches. Overall, the features are a tad on the skimpy side, but the addition of a music player that allows you to play any song in the game and switch between the five different musical styles in real-time is brilliant.
Battle of the Bands wraps a neat idea in a novel presentation. It's a quirky game that's best enjoyed in short bursts with a friend. The challenge and gameplay will feel weak over the long run for those who've been spoiled by expert-level sessions of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, although rhythm game novices should find it a good entry point into the genre.
CCC Freelance Writer