‘Lego Rock Band’ for everyone
Stars and Stripes November 8, 2009
Parents eager for a little less sex and drugs in their kids’ rock ’n’ roll will like "Lego Rock Band."
However, the E10-rated rhythm game — developed by Harmonic and Traveller’s Tales for MTV Games and Warner Bros. Interactive — is likely to appeal to quite a few others, too.
The game disc comes with 45 family-friendly songs. Kids and parents will recognize many hits from movies, such as Ray Parker Jr.’s "Ghostbusters" and Carl Douglas’ "Kung Fu Fighting." There are classics from the Jackson 5, Queen and Tom Petty as well as more recent hits by Pink, Vampire Weekend and the Kaiser Chiefs. All of them will be unlocked for free play from the start, so there’s no need to grind through the tour mode to gain access to your favorites.
For additional tunes, gamers can turn to the immense downloadable library offered by "Rock Band." Parents will be happy to know that Harmonix has filtered the catalog so Junior can’t download less-than-appropriate tunes.
In a nod to shorter attention spans, the game offers shortened versions of some songs. That means that you don’t have to sing along with Sting’s interminable chorus that literally goes "on and on and on and on …" in "Every Little Thing."
To help the younger folks — or oldsters who just can’t get the hang of a plastic guitar — the game offers a "super easy" mode. This allows you to get away with strumming the guitar without pressing the fret buttons and with hitting any drum head. When your fingers just aren’t fast enough to keep up with the music, the song continues with only a brief break for the failed player and a deduction from the point total.
The game is packed with the brand of humor that propelled Lego’s "Batman," "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" franchises to success. Detachable arms, giant octopi and a startling Lego version of Iggy Pop are all part of the fun. So are oddball venues, such as the pirate ship and the moon.
Much of this is a departure from the "Rock Band" formula, but it definitely opens the door to more family fun.
Platforms: Xbox 360 (tested), Wii, PlayStation 3
On the Web: www.rockband.com