Six-String Review

If there’s one genre that has been tapped in virtually every way possible on the iPhone, it’d have to be music/rhythm. We’ve seen awesome stuff from Tapulous with its Tap Tap Revenge series along with other stellar efforts from huge brands like Rock Band. While there’s some slight variation in gameplay mechanics among the heavy hitters, if you’ve played one you’ve essentially played them all. Clearly, this space is competitive, and having new approach is a necessity to break in. Enter Six-String, a rhythmic guitar game that is a satisfying mix of familiar and new elements.

Like many games before, Six-String obviously stands on the shoulders of the revolutionary game Guitar Hero. Everything from descending note patterns, note streaks, and star power are represented here. So there’s quite a few fundamental mechanics that fit like a glove in Six-String. That being said, there’s some interesting additions that give the game its own personality and brand identity.

Tune up and rock out.

For starters, there are six strings to be mindful of. Instead of merely timing presses as the notes enter the designated tap zones, other guitar-inspired mechanics are built in. Often throughout your songs, you’ll have to strum by gesturing your finger in the manner illustrated on screen. Strumming too short or too long will not net you full credit, so being exact is important. Luckily the response feels good, so we felt the game was fair when we messed up. Supplementing the strumming are chord changes. This mechanic isn’t nearly as ‘gee-whiz’ as the strumming, but it’s a welcome wrinkle. Adding all these factors together makes the experience much more fresh than many of the clones on the App Store.

Progressing in Six-String is a little backwards to reflect the paltry selection of music that’s available in the game’s core package. For each of the six songs included, you have to succeed in Practice Mode before you can move on to Studio Mode. In other words, you’re forced to successfully complete a song twice before you can post to the game’s online leaderboards. This is a cheap way of artificially creating length, and it’s painfully obvious.

If you want to spend much time with this app, you’ll see this screen often.

If you’ve got money to burn, making Six-String into a more substantial game is certainly a possibility. There are around 20 songs that are downloadable in the game’s Music Store, and each of them will cost you a buck. So to get the full Six-String experience with all the DLC, you’ll be paying close to 30 dollars. To wrap the bow on online connectivity, Ngmoco’s Plus+ network integration allows for leaderboards and achievements.

Six-String is a brilliant game of simulating a realistic guitar experience. The execution of the gameplay and mechanics are some of the best we’ve seen. What causes the game to falter is a laughable set of initial songs and the lack of a cohesive and compelling single player mode. We appreciate this game’s contribution to the genre, and we can’t wait to see the next iteration of this new franchise take that next step.

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