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Guitar Rock Tour review: Guitar Rock Tour

For the money you get a good set of songs and a pretty engrossing rhythm gaming experience. Though you may also get a case of RSI thrown into the bargain.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
3 min read

You know Guitar Hero, right? Well, you're about halfway there. Guitar Rock Tour (GRT) for the iPhone and iPod Touch takes the best of the Guitar Hero franchise and dumps it on your Apple handset, including some very decent covers of a good range of rock music and a drumming alternative for when you're bored of swinging your axe.

8.0

Guitar Rock Tour

The Good

Good track list. Guitar and drum modes. Fast gameplay.

The Bad

Some song covers are a bit dodgy. Tap Tap Revenge is free.

The Bottom Line

For the money you get a good set of songs and a pretty engrossing rhythm gaming experience. Though you may also get a case of RSI thrown into the bargain.

We've heard that the iPhone has processing power roughly equivalent to a first-gen PlayStation and this is evident in the game's presentation. Similar to Guitar Hero, Guitar Rock Tour features a mix of colourful, cartoony menus and some crude 3D animations to play behind the fret board while you furiously tap out the songs. Thankfully, the notes come rushing down the fretboard at a similarly furious pace, without any significant performance lag that we could detect.

As you've probably guessed from the pictures, the game is played by tapping the corresponding note switch in time with the music. Because the CNET Australia team are hardcore rhythm gamers we turned GRT up to its hardest setting and were surprised to find it quite challenging. Not so hard that it beat us, mind you, but difficult enough to keep us banging constantly at the screen, with our tongues lulling out the sides of our mouths in concentration.

In drummer mode the game changes slightly, requiring players to tap on the instrument icons — cymbals, snare and kick drums — to the sides of the fretboard. Essentially drumming is the same as playing the guitar, but it is a nice change of pace nonetheless.

Guitar Rock Tour includes two play modes: Quickplay for one-off rocking out and Tour mode for exploring your inner rock god and follow the thin and unnecessary plot line. Tracks unlocked in tour mode playing either the guitar or drums can be played in Quickplay using either instrument at any skill level.

We were pleased to see the game saves your progress after each song in tour mode. So even if you reach your stop on the train or bus, you'll be able to jump straight back in when you next have the chance to play.

As mentioned above, Guitar Rock Tour features a great selection of tracks performed by some very good cover artists, though they don't all hit the mark. Nirvana's Heart-Shaped Box and Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend sound excellent, while Michael Jackson's Beat It sounds like it's performed by a plumber singing in the shower. But even then, the dud covers are still fun to play.

Other playable tracks include: Smoke on the water, Message in a bottle, Guitar Hero III favourite Rock you like a Hurricane and Bloc Party's Banquet, with 17 songs in total.

Is it worth the money?
To play through tour mode and unlock all the songs we found ourselves playing Guitar Rock Tour for about five hours, and this was just with the guitar. This time would double if you played a second tour with the drums. For AU$9.99, you get 17 popular tracks over 10 hours of gaming which sounds about right to us, especially for a game with as much replay value as a decent rock rhythm game has.

If you don't feel like forking out the money for a rhythm game on your iPhone you can check out the free Tap Tap Revenge, though we think the money is well spent if you can afford Guitar Rock Tour.