Now, the tracklist is surprisingly rich and eclectic, taking in rock classics, contemporary and alternative rock, the odd bit of pop and country, some recent British stuff and the usual US pop/punk/emo nonsense. We get the Kaiser Chief’s (Ruby), The Final Countdown (Europe) and the ultimate cheesy Rock Band band, Bon Jovi (You Give Love a Bad Name). We also get the Jackson 5 (I Want You Back) and the theme from Ghostbusters.
Note placement – the old Guitar Hero 3 bugbear – is consistently tight and well-thought out, and at expert difficulty the game still packs a considerable challenge. All the same, it’s a short tracklist, and one that feels stretched over a reasonably long career mode, meaning you’ll inevitably end up repeating songs. Lego Rock Band’s family-friendly rival in the Guitar Hero camp, Band Hero, gave you a larger selection, and while it went a bit too far towards pop and the teenage girl market, still covered most of the same bases.
To make things slightly worse, you can’t import Rock Band or Rock Band 2 tracks, though the game will work with any ‘family friendly’ rated content you’ve downloaded from the Rock Band store, and any you download using Lego Rock Band as the front end. That’s fine if you’ve already invested heavily in track packs and Rock Band albums, and good news if you’re looking for a way to convince reluctant kids that Back in Black and Cherub Rock are “what proper music sounds like” but it’s still a bit of a letdown for those who want to see old Rock Band and Rock Band 2 favourites played in Lego form.
These are serious issues; serious enough to get Lego Rock Band marked down from eight to seven, and stripped of any awards I might have wanted to give it (though, to be honest, there’s not really enough innovation for that). Does this mean that I wouldn’t recommend it for those wanting to add some extra fun to the next few weeks? Not on your nelly. At its best Lego Rock Band takes the finest element from its musical parent – the feeling that you’re blasting through a storming performance in front of screaming fans – and adding an extra dash of Lego fun.
As our own house band smashed through the cheesy crescendo of Walking on Sunshine or the mildly wretched country hit, Life is a Highway, the old Rock Band feeling took over. It’s a game that just makes you feel good. Even given the lack of content, the price isn’t disastrously out of order, and if this game doesn’t put a smile on your face, I can’t really imagine what will.
The lack of tracks is an issue, but this is a great example of a brilliant game adapted for a family audience, with all the usual Lego fun. Rock on.