Mobile adaptations of music games have been surprisingly effective, despite lacking the tacky plastic controllers of their console-based bigger brothers.
But the scope of these games, such as the Guitar Hero franchise, is beginning to look quite limited. Other than adding new tracks (or a plastic clarinet, or tuba controller) there’s not much further these games can go.
Fortunately, Guitar Hero World Tour doesn’t make the mistake of trying. Instead, it simply makes a decent effort to refine what we’ve already seen, and that’s actually no bad thing.
It provides all the visuals and cues to spark your imagination into pretending the keypad is a guitar or drum kit and, backed up by a decent selection of songs, it makes for as good a representation of the game as could fit in your pocket.
The choice of characters isn’t massively important, but the top-notch graphics do make for a decent stage show while you’re thumb-rocking to the music (not that you’ll see much of that). You can also choose between guitar and drums, and there’s a noticeable difference between the two, even if you’re jamming along to the same songs.
Speaking of the music, this is one aspect that let the mobile version down. Up until now, the all new N-Gage Guitar Hero World Tour has been pretty much identical to the Java version, but the increased game size and platform performance means we now get good quality (albeit abridged) versions of the real songs.
There’s really not a great deal of new stuff on offer here, and it’s no small decision as to whether the improved music is worth the extra cost of an N-Gage game (given the audio’s importance, it probably is for hardened virtual rockers).
But until someone invents a new way to play a music/rhythm game on a mobile format, the crisp graphics and great audio quality probably pushes the N-Gage version to the front of the queue.