There are some mobile games out there that win a lot of points based on their sheer determination to exist. Not least among them are the Guitar Hero adaptations, which, in principle, couldn’t be worse suited to the mobile platform if they tried.
Yet through a sheer willingness to continue its domination of youth culture, Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile has stepped out onto the mobile stage with a head full of music, a hand full of hot guitar and a steely gaze full of defiance.
You’ve got to love it for its rebellious attitude alone.
But we still have to quantify its gameplay qualities, of course, so a closer look is very much in order. Naturally, Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile doesn’t come bundled with the fancy guitar shaped controller, or even the small DS-style frets adapter. All it’s got is a screen and a keypad – though that seems to be enough to provide a smooth interpretation of the music/rhythm phenomenon.
As always you choose between girly-haired rocker Axel Steel or punk babe Judy Nails. You can also choose from a selection of guitars, though none of this actually makes any difference to the gameplay. That said, image is everything in the modern music industry, so it’s definitely a minor benefit to the game that you can customise your character to a small degree.
Despite being called Guitar Hero, you also have the option of taking to the drums on each song, with a separate ranking being given for your prowess on both the strings and the skins. Three difficulty settings then put you onto the song list, with a total of 15 different tunes ultimately being unlocked as you climb the rock world.
The keypad acts as your virtual instrument, and works impressively well. The buttons are essentially divided up into three vertical columns, and hitting any button in each of the columns activates that particular string (or drum).
Each song is graphically represented by three notes descending down the screen on the left, middle and right, and as the front man of the upcoming rock band, it’s up to you to hit the notes as they reach the bottom; sustaining them for as long as their onscreen indicator demands. Accuracy is the key to providing your audience with a tuneful repose, and the game is pretty strict when it comes to throwing you off stage during a particularly cacophonic rendition.
Which brings us to Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile's most important factor: the music. Previous Guitar Hero mobile conversions have done a great job with the gameplay, but fallen among thieves when it comes to providing the vital music for you to strum along to.
Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile still resorts to the ear splitting din of a tuneless midi file, but has improved considerably over previous iterations. It’s a little hard to tell exactly how the music tracks are generated, but they sound to at least have a few proper sound samples mixed into the midi music.
This little bit of extra depth helps the audio side of Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile no end, but there’s still no getting around the fact that midi files sound more like stereo kazoo music, or the sort of pan pipes classics from a broken speaker that you might suffer in a stuck lift.
While this isn’t totally unexpected, it still has to cause Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile to lose a point or two, since most mobile phones can handle an MP3 file these days, and the Android version of this game played identically, only with real music instead of virtual muzak.
However, if you can hear past the noise, turning your mobile on its side and hammering out a mad axe man routine is quite possible in Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile. If music/rhythm games are what you live for, and you don’t expect to be playing this game in public, Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile is likely to please.
If you’re playing this because you really like the track listing, bear in mind you won’t be rocking out to the songs you know. Though you will be rocking out, nonetheless.