Armed with a $50 gift card and a twisted obsession with anything gimmicky, I drifted into Best Buy with my eyes peeled and my mind open. At every corner, I was ambushed by tall and gawky nerds in bright blue shirts who asked me if I was finding everything okay. I eventually replied, â€œNo, for you see, I’m just an caveman. Your wares frighten and confuse me!â€ which bemused them and eventually got them off my back.
As I made my way towards the center of the store, I literally stumbled upon the giant display of the new Nintendo DS game Guitar Hero: On Tour. After knocking down roughly half of the boxes, I managed to pick them up in time before any employees could come around to shoot me an angry leer. The game certainly looked intriguing enough, and in the end, the box art’s promise of turning me into a meth-addicted white trash rocker was too much to pass up.
Fifty dollars is a lot for a DS game, but it does have plenty of extras included. The contents of the package are as follows: a four-button fret with an adjustable strap that fits into the DS’s Gameboy slot, a plastic “skin” for the device, a pick-shaped stylus that fits in the contraption, an adapter for players with an old DS, and the video game itself. I must warn you that the device is a bit small. Since I have tiny little girl hands, however, I had no problem with the size.
For those uninitiated with Guitar Hero, you simply match your fingers to the notes displayed on the screen and strum at the moment that they reach the bottom. You would typically do this with a guitar controller that looks like a Fisher Price toy, but in this version you move your fingers on the attached frets and “strum” with your pick stylus on the touch screen. It works surprisingly well with near-perfect accuracy, meaning that you have no one to blame but yourself when you are booed off the stage.
The downside, of course, is that you are actually playing a simulation of a simulation. The creators of Futurama have already parodied this paradox, but little did they know that it would come true 992 years earlier than they predicted. You won’t get the enjoyment of pretending that you’re Slash or any of your other favorite drugged up guitarists, but you will get a great portable music game with enough tracks (26 in all) to keep you entertained until your parents kick your slacker ass out of the house.
If you want more info, check out my poorly narrated video for a content and game play demonstration.
Item: Guitar Hero: On Tour
Purchased at: Best Buy
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Comes with fun and gimmicky fret controller that is sure to impress the ladies in public. Game works surprisingly well for a portable version. Other than Elite Beat Agents, this is the only good music game currently released for the DS.
Cons: Much pricier than regular DS games, which typically retail for $30. Can’t pretend that you’re actually playing a guitar. Controller might be a bit small for people with adult-sized hands. Overbearing employees.