Game Reviews

A Story of a Band

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| A Story of a Band
A Story of a Band
| A Story of a Band

I've wondered for a while now why more smartphone developers aren't trying to emulate Kairosoft's success by emulating its games. The Japanese studio provides a steady and reliable stream of management titles, but we'd still like to see more studios having a crack at the genre.

Hot Byte Games has answered the call with A Story of a Band, mixing up the classic Game Dev Story with a music-based setting. It's glorious, too, with deep gameplay that would make Kairosoft proud.

There are some balancing issues, but in general this is a great first step.

Formed a band, we formed a band

You play as a failed musician who has been kicked out of every popular band going. In a vain attempt to gain revenge on all your past band-mates, you become manager of an up-and-coming band, teaching them everything you know and using them to get back at your old bands.

After choosing your band members and genre style, it's time to make some sweet, sweet music - or not, as the case may be. It takes some serious time to build your band's skills up to the point that you can get scores higher than two or three out of ten in all the popular music magazines.

There's so much to mess around with in A Story of a Band that it'll be a good while before we start getting bored. There are several types of albums to record, including concept, live, and 'best of', and you can also put out singles to keep the press writing about your work.

Then you can go out touring, reaping fans and wealth in equal measure. Balancing your fame and your fans is tricky business, and very true to life - if you're too famous, your number of fans may actually go down as hipsters start to resent your popularity.

In fact, this incredible understanding of how the music scene works flows throughout play, making for some absolutely hilarious insight into the industry.

Look at us, we formed a band!

A Story of a Band continues to delight elsewhere, with visuals that are comparable with the wonderful New Star Soccer - a little crude, but they add a certain character.

Your overall goal is to level-up your band and take on your past bands in rock battles - turn-based affairs that prove to be a whole extra game in themselves, with incredibly deep action and special skills to give you the edge.

So far so splendid, but where A Story of a Band fails to live up to the best in the Kairosoft series is in its balancing. In a nutshell, the game is stupidly difficult, and you'll most likely have to restart a couple of times before you start to get it.

This is partly because the game is a little too random at times, and it feels like everything is against you. You'll go on tour and play the perfect gig, then try again in the very same circumstances and fail the tour miserably.

The poor, obfuscatory interface is also a disappointment. We only realised how important certain items and skills are part way into our second attempt.

Still, it's a godlike formula: Game Dev Story + music genre + New Star Soccer = yes, please. Make sure you give this one a try, and prepare for some serious frustration at times.

A Story of a Band

A Story of a Band is an essential download for Kairosoft-philes that will eat far too many hours of your time