Anyone following major games should know that just this week the latest rendition of Activision/Neversoft’s Guitar Hero franchise was released. Facebook just got its own: A new game from Slide called Rock Riot, and while it does play similar to its console counterpart, the experience is more social and less visceral.
Rock Riot, at its core is very simple. Once players create their own “rocker,” they can jump right into the action. In the familiar Guitar Hero/Rock Band manner, players are presented with a guitar neck littered with multi-colored frets streaming down the screen. Using the 1 – 5 keys, players press the corresponding color when the fret reaches the bottom and, voila, music plays.
As a matter of fact, the music is perhaps the most surprising and fantastic part of this game. Rock Riot actually has a very impressive track list of fun and well-known songs, and they aren’t short clips either (though clips can be played upon player digression). These are the full songs and in crystal clear quality as well. including more that can be unlocked at higher levels. Essentially, it is like listening to an interactive CD, and even more surprising, actually does an excellent job of immersing the player into the rock and roll world.
Okay, granted, the controls are a bit awkward at first, and the experience is not the same has holding a guitar peripheral, but it still feels good to play. No, it is no console game, but what it lacks in this regard, it does make up with some classic social elements.
In addition to the posting of scores and progress on one’s Facebook profile, the game actually has you forming your own club and band. At the moment, the “Club” doesn’t seem to be much more than a background and the “Band” – made up of your friends – looks to only earn you extra fans (experience) and money. Of course, this is a good thing, because as you play and level up new items can be purchased to further customize your personal avatar, and as expensive as the rock lifestyle is, extra income is always welcome.
Frankly though, the avatar is a little disappointing. They are very stiff and rigid and while they “play” their guitar along with a song; it feels awkward and out of place. The animations are unnatural and out of rhythm, and the level of customization feels very limited until you have enough money to buy the most expensive items. Furthermore, it would be nice to see more done with the club itself rather than it just become a static background painting. In fact, this was the most disappointing, because the button “create your club” led to the expectations of designing and decorating a personal space.
Nevertheless, Rock Riot is still a very refreshing and entertaining experience for any Facebook user. Sure, it’s no Xbox 360 game, and the lack of a guitar peripheral makes it awkward at first, but once you get used to it, it is actually quite a bit of fun. The songs are great and fun to play, and the potential for social, personal spaces for each user is there just begging to be used. While not (yet?) on the level of Guitar Hero, Rock Riot is a solid addition to Slide’s Facebook repertoire.