Chromium’s Guitar Hero: On Tour Review

Guitar Hero On Tour DS

I had a Vegas trip scheduled for last week, so I decided to pick up Guitar Hero: On Tour for the Nintendo DS for the trip.  $50 and a toss of my dignity out the window and I was off.  At least I impressed the kid next to me who only had a regular DS Lite.

First off let me discuss the hardware. It’s difficult to manage the finger positions all the time. My hands are small so it wasn’t too difficult, but I can imagine people with larger hands being discomforted. Secondly, I always seemed to be missing strums for reasons I still can’t comprehend. Perhaps it required more pressure than I was using with the included Guitar Pick Stylus?  Also the volume levels from the speakers is paltry. With my new Sony in-ear noise cancelling headphones and the volume at max, it was merely adequate. (The noise cancelling was amazing BTW. Made the flight entirely more tolerable.)

I started off on Easy, but with only 3 fret buttons to begin with, I quickly switched to Medium after only 1 song. I finished the single player campaign by the time it was wheels down in Vegas.  You’re supposed to shout “Rock!” into the DS mic to activate Star Power, but since I was on a crowded plane, and didnt feel like being air marshalled off, I pretty much let the thing activate itself which it seemed to do on a regular basis regardless if I wanted it to or not. I’m not sure that was working as designed either.

The song list started off great, a little more on the pop side than the rock side, but still decent enough. Problem is by the 4th and 5th venue (5 songs in each) it felt like it had ran out of steam. A large portion of the songs at this level are not by the original artists, and the song choices were lacking. It’s like they had 2/3’s of a songlist done and then they called it quits. 25 songs is a very small amount, and with the DS not being able to receive DLC a travesty. I understand it’s a hardware limitation, but I figured they might get creative with the Gameboy Advance port they were already using. (Built in memory card anyone?)

I love rhythm games. I own Guitar Hero for the PS2 and Rock Band for the PS3. Unfortunately my experiences with GH:OT are less than thrilling. It does give you that Guitar Hero experience, but it just feels incomplete – in both the hardware and the weak track listing.  I did not try the multiplayer yet. Perhaps I’ll convince the wife to part with $50. Don’t hold your breath though.

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