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Rock Band Unplugged review

Unplugged? Well, apart from hooking up your charger anyway


  • Captures the Rock Band vibe
  • Uses the PSP ingeniously
  • Wide range of music


  • No instrument peripherals
  • Managing instruments gets complicated
  • Controls aren't intuitive

Rock Band Unplugged shouldn%26rsquo;t work. Not just because the name conjures up images of a bearded hippy gently crooning about flowers and peace while strumming on an acoustic guitar, but because Rock Band isn%26rsquo;t portable. Unless you have massive arms and you%26rsquo;re really strong. And people on the bus don%26rsquo;t mind you accidentally clumping them on the head with a plastic guitar as you try to activate Star Power.

So what does Rock Band Unplugged do, given it%26rsquo;s physically impossible to actually imitate Rock Band? It doesn%26rsquo;t even try. Instead, it copies the games that helped kicked the rhythm action craze off %26ndash; Amplitude and Frequency. The idea is that you have four buttons (Left, Up, Triangle and Circle) to hit the scrolling notes, with the ability to %26lsquo;shift%26rsquo; between drums, bass, guitar and vocals. Play enough notes in each section and they%26rsquo;ll continue playing themselves for a few bars while you run off to look after the other instruments. It feels like you%26rsquo;re spinning plates as you juggle between hitting notes and ensuring all the instruments are going, but it manages to capture the addictive element that makes Rock Band so enticing.

A lot of that is thanks to the recognizable Rock Band touches %26ndash; the overdrives, the guitar solos, the world tour, the band creation. There%26rsquo;s even a downloadable store allowing you to grab DLC tunes, via your PSN account. Plus the tunes span everything from Jackson 5%26rsquo;s ABC to Pearl Jam%26rsquo;s Alive. Still, it can be fiddly getting used to the new controls that never feel as intuitive as its bigger brother. Yet that%26rsquo;s a minor grumble. Really, you don%26rsquo;t need a plastic guitar to rock hard.

Jun 10, 2009

More Info

GenreOther Games/Compilations
Description<p>Rock Band comes to handheld, and while single player only, it recreates much of what makes the series great.</p>
Franchise nameRock Band
UK franchise nameRock Band
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating12+
Release date:9 June 2009 (US), 19 June 2009 (UK)
Available platforms:PSP
Genre:Other Games/Compilations
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