Review: Guitar Hero On Tour

Guitar Hero DS Box

The Guitar Hero series has always been about making you feel like a Rock god, a “Guitar Hero” if you will. The series has spanned many consoles and now finally manages to jump over to the portable market. I bet you guys are eagerly wondering if this game is any good, and are awaiting my blessing or my quashing of this title. So come join me inside for a trip down the path of becoming a portable rock god.

Guitar Hero is a game where you pretend to  be a god of Rock ‘n Roll, playing through multiple songs and virtual venues as you gain popularity and cash. Just like in the console versions of the games, as you gain cash you can go buy guitars, and various outfits. However, this is where you begin to run into some of the games flaws. Even though you get cash as you progress you’re not allowed purchase half the stuff available in the shop. You have to meet in-game requirements before somethings are actually allowed to be bought. This stops you from buying new Guitars or Outfits, but you should probably note that I did not mention anything about songs. The reason why I didn’t is because there are no purchasable songs in this game. You only have the songs that are available to you as you progress through Career Mode.

Now there are 4 different game modes available to you in Single Player not including Tutorial. They are Career Mode, Guitar Duel, Quick Play and Practice. Career Mode involves going through multiple venues playing songs and getting cash. You are required to play Career Mode to unlock songs for “Multiplayer” which is just DS to DS play (That’s right no Wi-Fi). Guitar Duel mode lets you do exactly the same thing as Career mode, except instead of playing normally you battle an A.I. Guitarist through all the songs that are available to you in career mode. However, Instead of having them all unlocked retrospectively if you already completed Career mode, you have to go through the trouble of unlocking them all over again. Guitar Duel is almost identical to the Guitar Duels in Guitar Hero 3, except instead of fighting a known rock god you fight the other playable characters like you would if you were in Multiplayer mode.

Apparently Multilayer Wi-Fi wasn’t a big deal to Activision since there is no Wi-Fi capabilities what-so-ever in this game. This would have actually made this game a lot of fun to play, challenging your friends over the internet but it’s not there. So all you have available to you is that crummy wireless play, person to person, there isn’t even download play since you can’t play the game without the Guitar Grip. So unless you know some friends who have paid for this game and are nearby you’re stuck to soloing your way through the game.

Be A Guitar Hero

As for the sound quality in the game, it basically goes in and out. Some songs sound perfect, while others songs seem like the guitar parts are too low to hear, and are overshadowed by the sound affects. There are a few times I remember playing through a song and not hearing any type of guitar sounds, but I still had to strum to the notes coming up on screen. Not to say there wasn’t a guitar part at that part of the song I just probably couldn’t hear it. I probably could have heard it if I was wearing headphones, but I didn’t feel like wearing them in my silent room.

The controls for the game are pretty straight forward and simple and are what you would expect from a Guitar Hero port to the DS. They are “interesting” as they work sometimes and other times don’t even register properly. However, that’s not to say that the GBA Guitar Grip isn’t working at all. The thing works perfectly fine, the problem comes with strumming on the touch screen.

You have two ways to play this game, strum the stylus across the guitar, pick stylus up, and repeat. Or play it like a violin and never remove the stylus from the touch screen and constantly move it back and forth over the guitar. These both work when there are normal gaps between the notes, but when there is a grouping of notes on top of each other it’s practically impossible to strum them all. Unless you go insane on your touchscreen ramming your stylus back and forth across the guitar.

Overall for a Nintendo DS game trying to recreate the same experience of Guitar Hero on the consoles it does the job well, but not as well as it could be. Some control problems and uncomfortableness come from holding the new add “Guitar Grip” add on, which you can have a hard time actually putting on the DS. The Touch Screen controls aren’t as tight as they should be in strumming and can be chalked up as a design flaw that could potentially be fixed later on if the series stays on the DS.

So if you’re looking for a Guitar Hero fix this is the way to go but it isn’t worth the price point of 49.99 USD. With all this in mind I could only give this game a two and a half stars, it can be somewhat fun, but is held back by some of the control flaws that can make the game absolutely frustrating.

Two and a Half Stars

PROS: Brings you everything you would expect in a portable Guitar Hero, A Good Selection of Characters, Decent Outfits, Basic Guitars and skins featured throughout the series.

CONS: Lackluster selection of songs, No extra purchasable songs, No Wi-Fi, And shoddy controls that go in and out.

Dissenting Opinion by Blake
I played On Tour four about an hour before sending it to Will for review, and I found no problem with strumming. Other than that, Will’s assessment is spot on. My only other gripe is that I missed the actual fake guitar of the console version, even though the button add-on attachment works great. The latter isn’t as convincing as the former, which takes away from the fun a bit. But for what it is (a portable port), I think Guitar Hero On Tour lives up to its name. Three stars out of four.

Gameplay 1

Gameplay 2

An artist from New York. Will has been writing, designing, and loving video games since he was young. He has traveled across the United States, and parts of Canada in order to learn more about the world of gaming. After visiting E3 for the first time in 2009, he has vowed to return there and show off a game of his own. In his spare time he tinkers with electronics, programming, and of course collecting video games.