Mere weeks after the Guitar Hero series finally made its way onto the iPhone, UltimateGuitar.com has a fresh competitor for the popular rhythm game. The guitar enthusiast Web site just launched Slash Arcade Rocker, and as the name suggests, the game requires a love for Slash and his music.
As a fan of pretty much any rhythm game on any in-house video game system, I jumped at the chance to try out Slash Arcade Rocker slightly ahead of schedule. Although I haven't had any hands-on time with Guitar Hero for the iPhone, I can say based on the screen shots alone that Slash Arcade Rocker seems to be better designed for the portable platform.
The app, which costs just 99 cents, doesn't overdo it with the interface, sticking to clean, Slash-friendly graphics and an appropriately limited amount of functionality. Regardless of the level (easy, normal, or hard), the fretboard features three color-coded keys with the fourth finger left free for the whammy bar (located on the left). Much like with Guitar Hero, there is a star power bonus available with adept playing.
I toyed around with the app for a couple of hours and found that each level of Slash Arcade Rocker was suitably challenging. If anything, the game is a bit forgiving, allowing for a large amount of error before kicking you out of a level. (Floating smiley heads and a point counter indicate your progress.) Also, there isn't any audio indication when you screw up a chord, which is a bit of a bummer, though not unexpected for the price.
Slash Arcade Rocker comes with three free songs--"Doctor Alibi," "By the Sword," and "Watch This"--all by the guitar legend himself, of course. Eleven more Slash songs are available for the game, and if you already have them on your iPhone or iPod Touch, they won't cost you a cent to play (otherwise, they are 99 cents apiece). In addition, the app is compatible with 22 songs by other big-name rockers (GNR among them). Going forward, it would be great to see the game expand its repertoire to include a wider variety of hard rock (my personal vote is for a big, poppy rock track along the lines of Dredg's "Saviour").
Die-hard Slash fans will also be pleased to note that Arcade Rocker isn't just a game. It also offers the most up-to-date news and tour information for the guitarist. The app goes on sale today in the iTunes Store.