Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Amplitude Game Poster Image
All-too-short musical treat for both the eyes and ears.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Story focuses on using sound (particularly music) combined with other senses to help heal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The only "real" characters in the game are researchers using a new experimental technique to help save a patient.

Ease of Play

Includes a variety of customizable controls, as well as a calibration tool to make sure music, video are in sync. From there, game is essentially as easy or hard as you choose.

Violence & Scariness

Though this is not a violent game, player progresses by using spaceship-like tool to blast tracks in time with music, causing virtual destruction when clearing the obstacles.


A reboot of original Amplitude PS2 game (and Frequency before it). Includes an original score, with some tracks contributed by indie music groups; songs available for purchase outside of game.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Amplitude is a downloadable rhythm-based shooting game, which challenges players to keep up with the beat of different techno or indie music tracks. The game is a remake/reboot of the original PlayStation 2 classic, itself a sequel to another PS2 rhythm shooter, Frequency. Though the general content and game mechanics are suitable for gamers of all ages, the plot of Amplitude's story mode (touched on by pre-song voice-overs and text) may be a bit heavy for younger players to comprehend, as it involves researchers using experimental treatments on the brain of a comatose patient.

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What's it about?

Long before ever giving gamers the chance to take the stage with the Rock Band games, developer Harmonix had already let virtual virtuosos play to the beat of their own drums with the 2001 PS2 classic, Frequency, and its 2003 sequel, AMPLITUDE. Now, more than a decade later, Harmonix has decided to revisit the rhythm/shooter franchise and update it for a new generation of gamers with flashier graphics, hipper beats, and an all-new campaign mode that takes gamers through the mindscape of a comatose woman undergoing an experimental treatment to repair the neural pathways of her brain.

Is it any good?

The original Amplitude was such a unique experience, it was hard to imagine what the developers could possibly add that could improve it, outside of some new tunes and a fresh coat of paint. Thankfully, it looks like Harmonix felt the same way, as this new version doesn't stray too far from the original. And that is definitely music to gamers' ears.

Harmonix has done a great job in making Amplitude as accessible as possible for gamers of all skill levels. The game features a variety of control schemes, difficulty levels, and gameplay options to keep all players well within their comfort zones. Unlike in the original, most of the music has been developed in-house, with a few exceptions from some indie and fan-favorite groups. On one hand, this can keep some players from immediately connecting to the game, but on the other, it does make for a more uniform theme. Even so, the lack of music range and the smaller number of tracks make Amplitude feel a lot lighter in terms of overall content. There's a four-player couch-play option, but surprisingly Harmonix decided to ditch any sort of online play. All in all, the new Amplitude is a fantastic treat for the eyes and ears, but, as with most treats, once you're finished, you're left with a craving for more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role that music plays in people's lives, whether it be cultural, entertainment, or even scientific. How does music affect you on a daily basis? Are there moments that are affected or improved by the use of music? Why?

  • Talk about how the brain operates. How does the brain use our senses to interpret the world around us?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music

Themes & Topics

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