Those of us who really, really suck at drums will be over the moon to see an auto kick-drum option, while most songs are now available to play in shortened versions. Admittedly, some of the edits are less than sensitive, but it’s a good idea when you’re dealing with under-fives hyped up on sugar and Fox Kids.
In the meantime, the Lego team at Traveller’s Tales hasn’t been afraid to mess with the formula a little bit, all in the name of added fun. As you play through your gigs and setlists, you’ll see new challenges and special events open up. Some impose limitations on your band, banning overdrive for instance.
Others split the song into discrete solo sections, so you take turns to keep the track going in the knowledge that, should one player fail, the whole group fails. Best of all, all of these challenges are given wonderfully silly storylines. Do you believe that the power of rock can rid a haunted mansion of its ghosts and ghouls? Or destroy entire buildings? Or defend a pirate ship from a giant ‘rocktopus’? Play Lego Rock Band and you will.
And of course, there’s the game’s headline feature. Polishing off certain gigs will trigger a playable flashback sequence, recreating performances from the likes of Queen, Blur, Spinal Tap, Iggy Pop and Let’s Dance era Bowie in Lego form. These sequences epitomise what the game does so well; taking that brilliantly silly Lego presentation, and using it to affectionately take the proverbial out of the stars, the clothes and every rock cliche in the book.
Nor does Lego Rock Band disappoint on the customization front. While the options seem limited at first, a little play soon opens up new bodies, legs and hairstyles that lampoon every style of music (and musician) going. While you’re at it, you can add a selection of weird furniture to your own Rock Band den, and transform your roadies from grizzled biker types into cuddly monsters, emo kids, glam rockers or worse.
The Lego bit works brilliantly, and the cut-scenes, the characters, the venues and all the stuff going on in the background while you perform will make you laugh. Unfortunately, the game falls a little shorter when it comes to the actual Rock Band stuff. Firstly, there are no online modes, making it impossible to start and run a band with friends or family far away if you’re short of company for an evening. More seriously, the song choice is limited to a rather scrooge-like 45 tracks.