Considering the phenomenal success and popularity of the Guitar Hero franchise, it’s hardly surprising to see videogame creators beyond Harmonix attempted to haul their derivative instruments and cash-in amps aboard the hurtling cash-cow bandwagon.
Meet THQ’s upcoming Wii-exclusive music and rhythm game Band Mashups, which, at first glance (see screens) would appear to be nothing short of a gimmicky tweaked rip-off of the Guitar Hero blueprint. But is it?
Set to arrive on Nintendo’s innovative little console this coming April, Band Mashups is being billed by THQ as the ultimate band battle, and will feature 30 (as-yet unspecified) “chart-topping” tracks adapted into five different musical styles for players to choose from. The resulting 150 tracks will play out across “distinct” styles such as rock, funk/hip-hop, Latin, country, and… um… marching band.
In a gameplay nutshell, Band Mashups takes the whole ‘battle of the bands’ concept beyond the idea of budding musicians competing for bragging rights with only conventional instruments. For example, players will be able to use a host of weapon-based instruments to combine music with combat via the likes of the sniper violin or the flamethrower guitar.
With the arrival of Band Mashups it would appear that straight spin-offs of the Guitar Hero model are now officially a thing of the past, and publishers and developers are turning their attentions to the more, shall we say ‘outlandish’ avenues of profit squeezing.
That being said, there is a distinct possibility that plenty of gamers not moved by the pseudo purism of Guitar Hero and Rock Band will be attracted by the musical cartoon action of Band Mashups — after all, there’s a market for the likes of Mario Strikers Charged beside FIFA and Pro Evolution.
“Band Mashups takes an innovative approach to the rhythm/action genre by blending music and combat in the ultimate battle of the bands,” said Randy Shoemaker, global brand director at THQ. “Using a rhythm based gameplay mechanic, the game delivers 70 over-the-top musical weapons and utilizes the Wii Remote’s functionality to deliver a completely original musical combat experience.”
From a game mode perspective, Band Mashups will feature an extensive single-player campaign alongside a two-player versus mode. The former will see players opt to guide one of 11 bands trying to stop evil “big boss” Mr. Hong from exerting his nefarious grasp on the city of New Cadenza. Beside its five musical play styles, Band Mashups also introduces “music switching,” which allows winning players to control the style of music heard during VS. mode.
What about Wii Remote interaction, Nunchuk integration, and whether gamers will get standalone sniper violin and flamethrower guitar peripherals?
Expect more info on Band Mashups in the coming weeks.