A-Band Rocks…Pun Intended

I’m proud to present you with the first ever game review posted by Gigaloth, and I’m even more proud that the game I was able to review was A-Band by Flammable Games.

That alone should tell you that this game is well worth the three dollars it costs.

The game is basically a poor man’s Rock Band. If you like Rock Band and/or Guitar Hero, you WILL like A-Band. That’s a plain as I can put it. If you don’t like these types of games…well, you might be better off heading to the nearest Redbox and renting The A-Team.

A-Band. A-Team. See what I did there?

A-Band plays nearly identical to Rock Band in almost every way except that you play only as the drummer, and you have to hit the appropriate drums (or buttons) at the right time to create the percussion in the songs that play. The songs provide enough variation and challenge to keep you coming back to it.

In fact, I can already see college freshmen posting YouTube videos of themselves in a pool of sweat over their drum kits getting perfect scores on pro difficulty for every song.

The best thing to say about the game is that the visual presentation is incredible. It’s not three dollar graphics, or even ten dollar graphics. The art is unique and perfectly styled for the game, and is much better than anything that I’ve personally seen in the XBLIG marketplace, and could compete with any commercial titles in that department. The art is colorful, creative, and is by far the most impressive part of the game.

On the Band Menu, there’s even this little silhouette of a Godzilla-like creature breathing fire on a city in the upper left corner that made me chuckle aloud. In addition, each band has unique artistic renditions of the members which were pretty awesome as well.

Speaking of the bands, the music in A-Band is incredible.

The game features indie rock bands from twelve different countries and five continents across the globe, and not one single track was awful to listen to. When I first loaded the game, I thought the menu music was a song by Paramore, when in fact it was a song called Got 2 Me by Ten Year Vamp. The track Recicla!! by Sananda was pretty awesome too.

Again, the music is incredible. All that, and the game designers even give you band bios and links to each band’s websites and facebook pages right there in the game, which is pretty cool if you want to find these bands and check out their music. I wish there were more than twelve songs in the game, because the music was downright bumpin’.

But I personally ran into a major snag actually playing A-Band: I suck at Rock Band, and I quickly found out that I suck equally at A-Band.

At first, I tried rummaging through my pile of cardboard boxes and old Star Wars crap to find my XBOX drum kit. Turns out I have more crap than I thought and couldn’t find it. So my internal thought process led me to believe that I could play the game with the standard controller.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The game was damn near impossible even on the easiest settings with the controller. Just for shiggles, I attempted two songs on the highest difficulty. The game was no longer damn near impossible…it was entirely impossible.

Multiply the fact that I suck horribly at these games with having to use the standard controller, and it’s like giving a person with multiple DUI’s a fifth of vodka and the Mario Kart Wii wheel and expecting them to finish Rainbow Road.

In fact, my favorite song was The Point of No Return by Jaywalker because it had long piano solos without any drumming, meaning my awful skills weren’t turning normally good songs into a pile of musical trash (which was the case with most of the songs, since the percussion doesn’t play if you miss the beats).

This only furthers my stance that if you are into Rock Band and/or Guitar Hero, and already own a drum set, you should absolutely get this game. If you don’t have a drum set, it becomes very difficult justifying buying a drum set just to play twelve songs.

My only gripe with the game would be that it lacks the social element that game like Rock Band achieved through multiplayer.  Most of the fun about Rock Band for me was playing with other people because it’s more of a social event or party game than anything else. Since I’m not a musician, I really have no interest in playing a game like this by myself.

But all in all, no matter what controller you use, or how bad you suck at these games, you’re bound to find fun, and certainly great music in A-Band.

Pros:
Awesome music.
Incredible art and visual displays.
Addictive gameplay.

Cons:
Requires the XBOX drum kit to get full enjoyment from the game.
Only twelve different songs.
Lacks a multiplayer mode

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