Universal Music Group has debuted a new Guitar Hero-like music simulation game for the iPhone. Priced at $4.99 and available in the App Store right now, it’s called Six String [iTunes link].
The emphasis is on a more realistic and deeper guitar-playing experience than you get in other music games, though it’s still not quite like the real thing. The game comes with licensed UMG songs by artists like Bon Jovi and Tom Petty. It even includes a song by The Scorpions (“Raised on a Rock”) from an album that won’t hit shelves digital or otherwise until March 23.
There are two game modes: Practice Mode and Studio Mode. Practice mode gives you feedback on how accurate you are in hitting notes. Studio Mode turns off those hints and replaces them with status bars that measure your progress. If you make too many mistakes, you’re kicked out of the song.
We played the game for a while today, and our impressions are that it’s one of the better music games for the iPhone. It won’t be as fun as playing Rock Band on the Nintendo Wii with your entire family, but it’s a worthy distraction, and that’s what mobile games are supposed to be.
How You Play
I played electric guitar in a Blues band professionally for two years. Thanks to that experience, I can tell you that while Six String is not too much like the real thing, it feels like a closer approximation than Guitar Hero. That’s despite the lack of a guitar peripheral — not that I’m complaining that there’s not one (you wouldn’t want to carry around a peripheral with your phone, obviously!).
Six String feels more like a real guitar because the mistakes you make are similar to the ones you’d make on a real guitar — with one hand, anyway. The game simulates the strumming and picking hand and has you using the touchscreen to either strum, tap or hold each individual string (or a group if strings) in correct time as the notes come up. It works well and it feels a little bit like you’re actually playing music when you’re getting it right.
The game also prompts you with chord changes on harder difficulty levels, but you perform them by tapping with the same fingers you use to play the strings. If you miss notes or chord changes, the music is digitally altered to sound a bit off. It doesn’t sound very realistic, but you can tell what you’re doing wrong. As with Guitar Hero, the skills of real guitar players won’t translate here or vice versa. But that’s not really the point, because it’s a fun game to play.
When you complete a song, you’re given detailed stats and feedback. You can share them with friends through the online service described below.
The game comes with six songs: Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name,” Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” Fall Out Boy’s “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs,” Peter Frampton’s “Show Me The Way” and Orianthi’s “According To You.” If you tire of those, you can buy more in the included music store. Each new track costs $0.99. If you’d like, you can buy the same songs on iTunes from within the app. You can also watch music videos or download ring tones.
Six String connects to a social gaming service called Plus+. You can share your top scores, compete for a spot on the leader boards and check on any friend’s status. UMG put some Twitter and Facebook integration in the mix, too. It’s similar to the Feint network that’s used by several other iPhone games out there.