The latest rhythm-game installment by Harmonix is a peripheral-less downloadable title known as Rock Band Blitz. The game resembles a Frequency/Amplitude spiritual successor, So why isn't this a successor of Frequency? First of all, Frequency IPs are owned by Sony, and second, Spinoff of Rock Band would make the full 4000+ songs catalogue compatible.
Frequency back in the day
Yes, you heard it right, all Rock Band songs are compatible with Rock Band Blitz, even though this title somewhat has new gameplay mechanics. How can that work right? We'll cover that later. Well, the game comes with 25 songs included (which also work on Rock Band 3 [cross compatibility is remarkable and developers should take note of this] ), the awesome tutorial sums up the gameplay mechanics and unlike Rock Band games; you don’t need to hit every note (although it does help) but to maximize your points. To do that you have loads of powerups to choose from which you will have access to them by earning your 'Cred' playing the game.
Loads of stuff happening in Blitz #_#
Unlike Frequency, the game has only 2 gems to hit which I found somewhat deluding when I first saw screens and videos, as I was a die-hard Frequency 3-gem-lane-fan. But after playing for some time, I take everything back. Frequency only had measly 3 powerups and Blitz's powerups are sometimes hard to concentrate with, you barely have time to blink, so basically making a 3-gem lane would raise the bar, and players will eventually give up easily on the game. Another note is that unlike Frequency, there are no difficulties to choose from, only one difficulty is present. The song can have from one to five instrument lanes, depending what the original song Rock Band chart has. You can switch from one lane to another whenever you want. The main objective is to fill every instrument lane with colour by hitting the notes before you reach the next checkpoint which makes your multiplier go higher and higher.
The game is a one player game, but the social aspect of leader-boards, high scores, score-wars against buddies, and online goals are endless. If you and your friends meet up, Rock Band 3 is the game for co-op fun, but if you're alone, and feel like spending hours trying to beat your friends' highscores, so you can brag about it arcade style, Blitz is the way to go. I spent nights playing Blitz, the gameplay is too damn addictive, and you'll be repeating to yourself 'Ok, last one and I'm off to sleep!' which eventually doesn't happen for a couple of hours.
Geeky stuff ahead: What I admire about the game is the developing aspect of it. What Harmonix call 'Blitzification' is basically what the game does to transform the standard Rock Band ‘chart’ into a Blitz level. Basically the 25 songs included in the game were not designed for Blitz but for Rock Band 3, but the blitzification process is immaculate. Food for thought; Checkpoints aren’t randomly done, these get created through sections which are charted in the song (e.g. when the chorus of a song starts), point system algorithm is flawless and takes a lot of time to figure out how they managed to work it out but every song can be gold starred in Blitz, note charts are pretty much as accurate as a two-note highway can get, even more impressed with the vocals chart, especially rap and talkies parts as you need to hit a gem per syllable.
It’s a first for me that I got a totally new original game with total new mechanics and already has loads of DLC levels compatible with it. This, in my opinion, makes Harmonix the top developer in the rhythm game genre, not just because they know what real rhythm games are, but they also show that they care about their ‘Platform’ and even more the fans. It’s worth checking it out even if you never touched the franchise or the rhythm game genre per-se. Demos are out on both Xbox360 and PS3, game price is €10, and you get 25 Rock Band 3 compatible songs too, it’s a bargain!
Overall Score: 9/10
Written By: Jake Ellis