If you wanted more reasons to hate your Facebook friends, Rock Band Blitz will give you plenty, as well as a social experience that’s fun to play if you’ve been buying DLC for years.
Rock Band Blitz is an odd duck. Despite following the aesthetic of the incredibly popular Rock Band series, the game has more in common with Amplitude and Frequency which are arguably the titles that started the genre’s frenzy. So what makes this arcade game so peculiar apart from going back to its roots? If you’re one of those people who has been purchasing DLC for years and years, Rock Band Blitz is the kind of arcade game that will remain installed in your hard drive for years to come and there’s also an intrinsically social aspect to take into account. So if you want to compete with your Facebook friends and you own a large library of Rock Band songs, Rock Band Blitz is a must own.
In Blitz, there’s no story to speak of and nothing to distract you which means that you can launch this game and play a song in a matter of seconds. Here’s what you should know in terms of gameplay: you control a ship that you can move left and right to collect notes. Each lane represents an instrument (drum, bass, guitar and vocals) and when you focus on a specific song, that selected part is played louder which adds oomph to the experience. Right off the bat, you’ll notice that playing all notes in a given song is impossible, so you have to focus on a specific lane, clear as many notes as you can and then move on to the next one. As you play more notes on each lane, you level them up and if you level up all the tracks before a checkpoint, you increase the level cap which raises the chances of getting more points.
But these are the basics and soon enough, you’ll notice that some advanced mechanics come into play. One of the most important ones involves power-ups which you need to select before each song and can be used once you have collected enough silver notes. There are several power ups, including bandmate, which plays all the notes in a given track, 2x multiplayer, which gives you twice the points, and even a pinball, which bounces around the levels hitting every note in its path. Using power-ups is really fun and they add something else to the experience. Of course, reaching some of the highest scores possible involve figuring out which power-ups are best suited for a specific song.
One of the most prominent aspects in Rock Band Blitz is its social aspect, since you can link the game to a free Facebook application called Rock Band World and compete against friends. The app allows you to share scores, compete against Facebook friends, team up to complete challenges and so on. As you play through a song, you’ll see the scores of your Facebook friends and there will be a rewarding sound whenever you beat them. Overall, this works remarkably well and it’s such an essential part of the game that I don’t think anyone will be playing Blitz offline.
The soundtrack isn’t as extensive as previous Rock Band games and while the setlist (which features around two dozen songs) covers different genres and decades, it’s nothing compared to Rock Band games from the main series and here’s the first place where you’ll notice that the game expects you to have DLC. In a way, the short number of songs is understandable, since Blitz is a cheaper arcade game, but this is a title where people who have been buying DLC for years can take advantage from. In other words, if you’re planning to buy this game just to play the songs that are included, you’ll be hooked, but only for a few hours.
Another problem is that the tutorial portion of the game is lacking to say the least. Although there is a general explanation about the basic mechanics, the game expects you to find out most gameplay elements by yourself. For instance, it’s fair to say that power-ups are one of the most important parts about Blitz, but the game doesn’t explain what they do and this isn’t the only aspect players need to find out by themselves. Some things took me a while to wrap my head around and including a more complete tutorial would have mitigated the first few hours of confusion.
It’s worth mentioning that the achievements were created for those people who have a lot of DLC and those who haven’t, won’t be able to unlock them unless they buy specific songs. For instance, a specific achievement encourages you to play a song from the 1960s, but Blitz doesn’t cover that decade in any form, so if you want that achievement, you’ll have to purchase some songs from the store. Additionally, those who have a copy of Rock Band 3 will be able to import songs from Blitz free of charge, but you won’t be able to play songs from Rock Band 3 on Blitz.
Rock Band Blitz is a terrific rhythm game that incorporates a lot of gameplay ideas from traditional arcade titles. The result is a title that will be enjoyed the most by those people who have been downloading Rock Band songs for a long time and those who have Facebook friends that have a copy of this game. If you don’t fall under that category, I’d still recommend you to play Rock Band Blitz, but make sure you download the demo to see what you’re getting yourself into.