So I managed to get my hands on Guitar Hero On Tour for DS, and after some scrapping around with it, I’m ready to review it. When I opened the packaging, I found two sheets of stickers as well, so I set about happily uglifying my DS first. It’s rewarding in some strange way. Anyhow, after the uglification, I inserted the guitar grip into Slot 2, inserted the game pack into Slot 1, and fired up the DS.
Guitar Hero On Tour is the DS offering of the popular Activision game. The game is played using a combination of the guitar grip attachment and the touch screen. The guitar grip even has a place to house the specially made guitar plectrum, so that was cool. Playing the game is similar to other Guitar Hero games: you hold down the appropriately colored button on the grip, and strum the touchscreen with the pick. Nothing much to it. The game boasts an impressive number of songs for a DS cartridge, and most people should be familiar with the majority of the songs. There’s also a battle mode, where you play against against another player, either computer or human if you have a friend with the same game. The battle mode bestows several attacks, such as burning guitar or scissors to cut the guitar strings, that you may ravage your foe with. Some attacks, such as the speed up or the blown amp, can’t be recovered from, but some have an interactive component. For example, if your opponent sets your guitar on fire, you have to blow into the mic to put the fire out.
Personally, I didn’t like battle mode–I don’t know anyone else with the game so I couldn’t play against a human opponent, but I don’t think it’d make the session any more fun. I think the problem is that I enjoy playing real guitars, and the whole battle bit detracts from the art of actually playing music, which is what the game is really about.
The tour mode (thankfully, without any battling!) has you trying to make enough money to rocket you to stardom. You gain more cash for playing songs accurately, naturally, and this provides enough of a challenge to make you replay songs over and over again, to attain the “100%” that is so elusive on expert level.
My biggest gripe about the game, however, is the guitar grip itself. I don’t like it. It’s uncomfortable no matter HOW I hold it, and the only comfortable way of holding it means that I can’t see the screen. The grip also fits pretty loosely into the slot, so at times you find that the attachment comes loose, and then the game grinds to a halt and tells you that “You’ve been rocking a little too hard. Re-insert the Guitar Grip and reset the DS”. Ok, maybe not in those EXACT words, but I’m close.
All in all, the game is great, but it’s marred by an attachment that could have used some ergonomics lessons. Sound is brilliant, graphics are pretty good for a DS game, and the part about playing the strings on the touchscreen with the pick is brilliant. If you like your Guitar Hero on the go, by all means, go for it. But it’s a damn sight easier to play the home console versions.