Rock Band for iPhone doesn't exactly rock

EA's official iPhone version of the console classic doesn't let you do the one thing it should: sing! Instead, the "vocal" portion of the game is just another tap-fest.

Rock Band for iPhone does a nice job recreating the look of the original, if not the feel.
Rock Band's biggest disappointment: When you play vocals, you don't get to sing.

Rock Band. For iPhone and iPod Touch. Right now in the App Store for $9.99.

Just thought I'd cut right to the crucial information, as hard-core fans of the console mega-hit probably don't need to hear anything more. "Rock Band? iPhone? Ten bucks? Sweet!"

Everyone else should listen up before plunking down that sawbuck. EA's official, real-deal port brings the jamfest to the iPhone in style, with gorgeous visuals, great songs, and some solid multiplayer action.

Unfortunately, compromises abound. The songs are great, but you get only 20 of them (and 5 are locked). You can buy more right inside the game (at 99 cents for a two-pack), but I'm still disappointed by the small selection.

As for multiplayer, you can jam with up to three other players, just like in the real Rock Band--but only over Bluetooth. That's inconvenient, to say the least. Why no support for Internet multiplayer like in Tap Tap Revenge 3?

My main disappoint lies with the vocal aspect of the game: there isn't one. Granted, you can choose to play vocals, just like you can guitar, bass, and drums, but you don't actually sing--you just tap pedals on the left side of the screen.

The other three modes shoehorn four buttons into the bottom of the screen, which makes for some fairly cramped (and cramp-inducing) mashing. A wide-screen option would seem logical, but it's nowhere to be found.

Finally, while $9.99 may seem like a reasonable price for an officially licensed Rock Band game with officially licensed songs, it's steep for an iPhone game.

And fans of the genre will be quick to point out that Tap Tap Revenge 3 costs just 99 cents.

On the other hand, that game limits you to one "instrument" and three "strings," so it's not quite as challenging. Rock Band definitely puts your tapping skills to the test with fun and familiar tunes. But I'd say it barely scores a 7 when it should go up to 11.

 

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