|System: DS, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Fall Line||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Disney Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 25, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
but I Like it
by Cole Smith
A Disney-ish version of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Ultimate Band has a different agenda, and it kind of works. In this game, you can play lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass and/or drums or get your friends to play some of them.
All of the instruments are accessed using the stylus. At its core, Ultimate Band is still a rhythm-based game, but the focus is not entirely on showboating, as it focuses on teamwork; the main concept integral to creating and maintaining a band.
Let us have no illusions, Ultimate Band is pure, out-and-out Disney. Everything about it is safe. We all know that the music business harbors some of the most unsavory characters that ever crawled out from their parents' basement, but rock and roll is not pretty. It not only embraces these unstable rapscallions, it thrives on them. So, what we get is an entirely fictional account of the music industry. A business that's safe, clean, and honest. Now this may seem like blasphemy, but consider that this game is aimed at a young demographic. Some of these innocents still believe in the Easter bunny. So let them imagine that boys in Oasis would love to come over and play Spyro with them.
Ultimate Band does offer a lot of variety. There is more to it than trying to keep up with falling icons. First of all, there is no need to buy any expensive peripherals, yet you can play lead and rhythm guitar, bass, and drums. The game also allows for connectivity to the Wii, in addition to online play that doesn't involve competition so much as it emphasizes sharing and cooperation. A recording mode allows you to get creative with your own musical stylings. The online community is where you can exchange various musical ideas and acquire new skills. Ultimate Band has a lot of potential, not only as a fun game but as an educational experience. It may not be fair to think of Ultimate Band as Guitar Hero-Lite as it does have depth. Even the songs aren't all that bad with selections from the B-52s, Wheezer, The White Stripes, and The Who. Not too shabby for Disney-approved rock and roll.
As the title implies, the name of the game sets the premise - to actually become the Ultimate Band. After reading about a battle of the bands contest in the local papers, the main characters get to work honing their musical chops one note and one beat at a time. Working your way up through the ranks is an experience that all musicians have to go though. It's reward is to finally be deemed good enough to make it out of the garage to a gig where people will actually pay to hear you play. Rockopolis is the city where you will begin your musical journey. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. You'll play various venues such as the Jamhalla, Aztec Palace, and the Dome Debut. The better you perform, the more songs you'll unlock and the better venues you will play in. You'll also collect points and receive tips from the audience on how to improve your performances. If you're planning on a career in music, you will be advised to get used to this pretty darn quick because everyone's a critic.