Despite lacking those guitar-shaped peripherals that allow livingroom rockers to relive their unfulfilled dreams of superstardom whilst their kids look on in horror, there’s still a pretty decent show of music and rhythm games on iPhone. It’s also a remarkably vibrant scene, with the likes of the Tap Tap (insert currently hot artist here) Revenge series and Guitar Hero playing to the masses, while more experimental titles such as Thumpies aim for indie appeal.
Universal Music’s Six-String instantly stands out from this motley crew by striving for realism and delivering the most authentic pocket-sized guitar playing experience to date. In short, the game is to the rhythm genre what Real Racing was to driving sims for iPhone. The best.
All this realism might make for a steeper learning curve than the majority of the aforementioned games, but also results in a more complete and rewarding experience once you do master its complexities.
Six-String‘s uncluttered interface depicts the fingerboard, pickups and, as its name implies the strings, of a guitar. As color coded notes fall down (or across depending on your preferred orientation) the screen, you are required to pluck, strum and even change chords in time to the music. Each type of note demands a different response from the player- green need to be tapped, yellow held, and for blue you brush your fingers along the strings. The more complex the song, the more fast-paced the action.
As any garageband (and their neighbours) will attest, practise makes perfect, and Six-String puts you through a gruelling set of rehearsals before you’re deemed ready to hit the studio. It’s also here in practise mode that you unlock the game’s six songs for use in the main game.
These tracks are a mixed bag; ranging from
dad classic rock (Tom Petty) and crowd-pleasers (Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name), to fresh new sounds (Orianthi). Notably these are high quality recordings and in a neat touch your in-game jamming has an audible effect on the end result (Petty’s Runnin’ Down a Dream in particular sounds like a cat being strangled should you screw up).
If you tire of these tunes, you can always purchase more from the game’s storefront, which is chock-a-block with a pleasingly diverse selection of offerings from the Universal stable. Resultantly the game’s longevity will ultimately be decided by how much time (and money) you invest in it.
Studio mode is most definately where it’s at, boasting a challenging solo experience, as well as a host of enjoyable online features such as multiplayer rock-offs to compete in and leaderboards to climb.
Six-String‘s sophisticated core gameplay makes the competition look amateurish by comparison and truly deserves a 9 or even a 10 out 10 score, but given the steep price, by Appstore standards, of 4.99 only six bundled tracks seems like slim pickings, while the pricey in-app purchases will most likely be too rich for most budding rockers’ blood.
iFanzine Verdict: As sophisticated a guitar simulation and rhythm game as you’re ever likely to play on iPhone. Six-String rocks hard!
Score: 8 out of 10
Apps at AppStoreHQ