Guitar Rock Tour 2 in Review – Music To My Ears
Well, I’ve finally done it. I have finally convinced myself to partake in the extravaganza known as “going on tour”. Having prior experience from Guitar Hero and seven years of electric guitar lessons, I found my skills adequate enough to undergo the journey of traveling to 10 diverse locations around the world and performing there. While my head may still be in the clouds, Guitar Rock Tour 2, by Gameloft is the highly anticipated sequel to one of my favorite games to ever hit the App Store.
I normally tend to feel like I should have been born in the 60’s or 70’s. I have an enormous passion for music, classic rock that is. Thinking of what music has become nowadays – bubblegum garbage and music videos that consist of half naked women along with cars that cost more than my house, tends to knock me in my gag reflex. That’s why I couldn’t feel more at home while playing Guitar Rock Tour 2, because it’s one of the few games that actually has a soundtrack that appeals to me (18 songs).
In Guitar Rock Tour 2, you choose your rock star (there’s 11 total) and you “go on tour” with the band to 10 different locations around the world (starting from New York and even going to Egypt). At each location, you have gig venues where you must play a specific song without failing it. To see how well you’re doing during a song, just glance over at the meter with the skull at the bottom of it, on the left side of the screen. If the meter falls into the red zone, that basically indicates to you that you aren’t doing so hot and must feel the wrath of an unhappy crowd and disappointing pop-ups such as “gig cancelled”.
Rather than playing along to the beat of the song (like in BeatRider and the Tap Tap series), you actually play to the guitar rhythm of the song, giving it a more authentic feel and experience. At each location, there are also assignments (challenges) which are optional to complete, but they unlock different guitars and styles for each guitar. The challenges range from playing 2 consecutive songs, to having to get a minimum percentage on a guitar solo. Easily one of the coolest aspects in Guitar Rock Tour 2 are the guitar solos in the songs. Nothing makes you feel more like a rock star than to play a guitar solo for Sweet Home Alabama on a portable MP4 player. If you score 100% on a guitar solo, then you get added bonus points to your score. To change the style of your guitar, just click the “instrument locker” (different drums and bass drum skins can also be unlocked). The paint job of the guitar can also be customized in the options menu.
To play a song in Guitar Rock Tour 2, you must tap the note as it slides down the strings to its corresponding color. As the note matches up with its color, you simply tap the note to play it. If the note is missed, the guitarist also doesn’t play it, leaving you with awkward silence as the band continues to play the song without you. At the top left corner of the screen is your star multiplier, which increases as you continue to play notes without missing any.
At the right portion of the screen, is your whammy meter, which gradually increases as you play correct notes. Or, if you play a correct sequence of orange sparkly notes, the meter gets an even bigger boost. You can either shake your iDevice, or flip the whammy with your finger to activate it. Upon activating, you will have a short period of time where all your notes give you more points, due to your star power being multiplied. However, if you wait till the meter is filled to the gills, then you unleash the ‘fire power’. Fire power incinerates all notes going down your strings, giving you a moment’s rest before the next wave of notes arrive. Use the fire power wisely, as it can save you in difficult situations. Thus, conserving the meter until its full would at times be a better option than simply wasting it when it’s only half full.
Guitar isn’t the only instrument that you can play in Guitar Rock Tour 2. You can also play the drums, which in my opinion, is more difficult than the guitar in the game. The drums only have three possible combinations of notes (left, right, and both left and right which plays the crash cymbals), but I still find them more difficult because you have to constantly keep the beat of the song. The drums don’t have a whammy meter, so the fire power automatically gets activated when you correctly play 2 sequences of the sparkly orange notes, aka pyro sequence.
The graphics in Guitar Rock Tour 2 are amazing, and push the limits of the iDevice hardware. Each location is very different from one another and all have their own unique look. When playing a song, it almost feels like you’re watching a music video at the same time. There are 3 total difficulties: Easy, Medium, and Hard. Personally, having been able to achieve a 74% on ‘Through the Fire and Flames’ on Expert difficulty in Guitar Hero (which I’m extremely proud of), the first 2 difficulties were a breeze for me. I wish I could say the same for the Hard setting, except the game sometimes lags for me (especially when activating fire power), which ruins my chances of achieving a perfect score on the song. While the lag is expected because the game is graphically intense, I’m sure it runs nearly perfect on the iPhone 3GS.
There is even a multiplayer mode in Guitar Rock Tour 2, where you can verse your friends head-to-head via local WiFi. I unfortunately never got to try out this mode, because the majority of my friends don’t even have an iPhone or iPod Touch. In multiplayer, you aim to achieve a higher score on a song, while having to withstand power ups that your opponent gets and uses on you (and vice versa).
Guitar Rock Tour 2 also utilizes 3.0 functionality by enabling the user to purchase in-app content, or in this case, song packs that you can play along to. I have not seen any song packs as of yet, but I’m more than willing to pay for them when they come out (as long as they’re a reasonable price). Gameloft surprised me by actually having original songs along with great covers, which I can barely tell the difference from the originals. Yet again, the soundtrack is fantastic in Guitar Rock Tour 2, and I found myself liking songs such as Helicopter, which I had never even heard before.
One feature that I always look forward to in a game is achievements. Guitar Rock Tour 2 thankfully has several achievements, called “awards”, which you unlock as you progress through the game.
To be honest, Guitar Rock Tour 2 is hands down my favorite music oriented app on the App Store, let alone one of my favorite games for the iDevice. With its fantastic soundtrack, customizable options, career mode, multiplayer, and crisp 3D graphics, Guitar Rock Tour 2 is one of the best games to come out in a while. My only gripes are the slight laggy moments as well as the lack of Gameloft Live features. I would have loved to see online leaderboards to compare my highscores with the rest of planet Earth. Also, regular multiplayer, not just via local WiFi and being able to play GRT2 in landscape mode would have been fantastic features to have. I found myself on numerous occasions, being unable to fluidly play sequences of chords because my thumbs were too cumbersome.
Other than that, Guitar Rock Tour 2 rocks away with a crotch-grabbing-head-shaking rating of Grab It and fans of Guitar Hero (and similar genre of games) definitely don’t want to miss this great Gameloft offering.
|Title:||Guitar Rock Tour 2 (v2.0)||Developer:||Gameloft|
|Price:||$4.99||App Size:||209 MB|