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Guitar Hero: On Tour introduced the world of handheld gaming to the most conventional concept for portable modern rhythm games. Some players, however, didn’t like the idea of curling their fingers around a Nintendo DS in order to jam out some arthritic rock tracks. Harmonix has heard the cries of the carpal tunnel afflicted, and has thus created Rock Band: Unplugged. The musical millstone has been passed back onto your good ‘ol thumb.

Harkening back to the rhythm games of old, the face buttons of the PSP are utilized for Rock Band: Unplugged. As four familiar gems scroll down the screen, simply pressing the button that corresponds to each color will result in a success. No awkward strumming or attempts to sing into your handheld are necessary here. Remember Amplitude and Frequency? This is the same idea, just with a fresh coat of Rock Band paint splattered over it.

The appearance of the game is crisp and easy to look at. It’s what we’ve all become accustomed to; multicolored notes streaming down a black highway while pixilated musicians gyrate in the background. The rockers have obviously taken a graphical hit because of the leap to the handheld, but who’s honestly playing a Rock Band for the characters models?


The innovation in Rock Band: Unplugged is a unique one for a rhythm game. Using the shoulder buttons, wannabe traveling one-man-bands will flip between the song’s vocal, guitar, bass, and drum track. After hitting enough notes in a particular section, a large glowing note will appear, and hitting it will clear all notes from that track highway temporarily. After scoring high enough on a given track, players jump to repeat the process. If you’re blowin’ it on a particular track, the pressure is increased as you watch notes being missed on the other tracks in the background.

If you’re the kind of person who put on a headset to sing vocals while simultaneously playing guitar and using said guitar to bash on the drum kit, you’ve already experienced simultaneous track management. For the rest of us, Rock Band: Unplugged is the first real way to interact with different instrument tracks within a single song. The different tracks all boil down to simple streams of notes, but the tandem management of each provides variety to an otherwise mundane experience.

Come June 9th, if you’re looking for a fun way to listen to your favorite songs like “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas, “Drain You” by Nirvana, “A Perfect Drug” by NIN, and “Rock Your Socks” by Tenacious D, look no further than Rock Band: Unplugged.

  1. “If you’re the kind of person who put on a headset to sing vocals while simultaneously playing guitar and using said guitar to bash on the drum kit, you’ve already experienced simultaneous track management.”


  2. I don’t expect this to be better than Rock Band 2

  3. Frequency and Amplitude were the first games I played seriously online, and the main reasons (besides Tony Hawk 3) I had an ethernet adaptor for the PS2. I was actually pretty good. It was cool being on the rhythm game bandwagon before Guitar Hero commercialized it… I feel like Harmonix is the Fall Out Boy of game developers… it was everyone’s favorite before they blew up and sold out.

  4. avatar Burhan

    There’s a lot of synthesizer stuff out these days, a lot of tuuoatned voices, and it always kind of bugged me. It’s fun to listen to, but I can’t play this stuff on my guitar really! And it would be refreshing to find some more singers with voices they don’t change up. Like, natural talent. Remember why The Beatles were so awesome? Yeah. Anyway, I’m not cutting down today’s music, just, am I the only one who wishes there was some kind of 100% natural music with actual guitars, drums (that aren’t synthesized rock beats), real pianos, good voices that are actually the true voice of the singer? I actually have a theory that one day there will be like like a musical revolution I guess. Because there isn’t really one thing that sticks out and is the thing of 2011 these days. Like, there was the age of Elvis, and I know Nirvana, Black Sabath, The Who all and don’t forget The Beatles were all the standing out stuff at one point or another. There’s not really a top band or singer for this age. I think Pink, Avril Lavigne, Paramore, Bruno Mars all are pretty natural. But I kind of think there’s got to be some musical group coming that will be natural and be the thing of 2011 s musical world’ and set a new trend or something. Sounds stupid, but think about it. Whatdo you think about today’s music? I know my guitar teacher gets really mad about synths!

    • avatar Jair

      Review by Gameboy for Rating: My wife bought this game yetsdreay for herself since she and I are both fans of the show and we both enjoy videogames. Well I got to play this last night for a few hours. I had only meant to play for a few minutes to make sure the game was in proper working order before I went to sleep. Well 2 hrs later I put the game down! =) Controls aren’t the best and take a little getting used to and graphics need some major improvement, but the music and environment in the game is spot on as well as the original voices of the cast from the movies. Once you look past the control issue (can’t change the button layout unfortunately) and the subpar graphics, this game is major fun for us Ghostbuster fans! So if you are cool with all that, you will more than likely enjoy this game like I am.

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