Band Hero

Common Sense Media says

Great party game for music-loving families.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game encourages musical understanding, appreciation, and collaboration, plus this game features many family-friendly songs.

Positive role models

You are a musician playing within a band.

Ease of play

Those familiar with rhythm games will pick this one up right away, but it can get challenging on the harder settings.


Not applicable

Some of the female avatars dress in tube tops or low-riding jeans, but there is no nudity. Some lyrics infer sexual behavior.


The odd off-color word, such as "damn" or "hell," can be heard, plus some potentially offensive lyrics for young ears, such as "makin' love" and "lets burn these sheets down to the seams."


The game features well-known songs by classic and contemporary bands, which promotes them, of course, plus the instrument manufacturers get plugs, too.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some lyrics refer to alcohol, such as Don McLean's American Pie: "And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye."


Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Band Hero is a music game with more family-friendly content compared to the songs found in the harder-edged Guitar Hero and DJ Hero games. Aside from a few sparse words that might raise an eyebrow, this game is great for kids of all ages. Some female characters move their body in a sexy way or show some "skin" but it's quite tame.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Rock, pop, country, and folk come together in BAND HERO, the latest in Activision’s mega-successful rhythm game franchises, following Guitar Hero and DJ Hero. As the name suggests, Band Hero lets you play guitar, bass, drums, or sing -- using plastic peripherals that resemble real-life instruments – to a set list of more than 60 No. 1 hits. Examples of the diverse set of tunes include Taylor Swift’s Love Story, Don McLean’s American Pie, Jackson 5’s ABC and Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life. Activision has added more social play options to encourage cooperative or competitive jamming -- in the same room or over the Internet -- including the ability for multiple gamers to play the same instrument, such as having two drummers and two guitarists or four singers (and an all-new karaoke-style Sing-Along mode helps there, too).

Is it any good?


Yes, but it’s no secret the market is saturated with these rhythm games -- not to mention family rooms piled high with plastic peripherals. But Band Hero attempts to stand out in its eclectic selection of hits, new playable characters (Maroon 5’s Adam Levin and Taylor Swift) and additional party modes for friends and family. Plus, the game lets you import songs from other games, such as Guitar Hero 5 (though it’s too bad it’ll cost a few dollars for the privilege). If you’re not yet burned out by these games and like the diverse set of songs and modes, Band Hero should be music to your ears.

Note: The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game play out the same, but the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS versions offer some interoperability including the ability for Nintendo DS/DSi owners to change the band’s set list on the fly (on the Nintendo Wii), along with Wii/DS guitar competitions. Nintendo Wii owners can also import their Mii character in a freestyle mode.

Online interaction: Players can jam online with others, which means they can communicate with one another. This might be an issue for some parents because this interaction can be unpredictable.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether music games have run its course. Is the market over-saturated with dozens of rhythm games, sequels, downloadable content, and a pile of plastic peripherals? Could Band Hero be more innovative or do gamers want more of the same?

  • Why do you see musical instruments from real world companies in this game? Why do companies want to sell to kids?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DSi
Price:$49.99 and up
Available online?Not available online
Release date:November 3, 2009
Genre:Music and Dance
ESRB rating:E10+ for Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Band Hero was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 10 year old Written bychais December 8, 2009

Great game, but terrible editing makes it unusable in a school setting.

I am a 6th grade music teacher and I bought this game specifically for use in my music classes. It is rated E for everyone 10+. The makers of the game have taken the time to edit out inappropriate language, but I do not know what they were thinking when they went about this process. There are a number of songs that repeat the phrase "I don't give a d***" and others that are obviously sexual. This is nothing that is ridiculously offensive, but it is still unusable for me in my school setting. What I do not understand is how they went about the editing process... the editors took the time to remove fairly innocent stuff like the word "whiskey" from Don McLean's American Pie and the word "gay" from Taylor Swift's Picture To Burn, yet they have the singer repeat "I don't give a d*** about my reputation!" over and over again in Bad Reputation by Joan Jett. 2 other songs (Rock Star and Black Cat) also include similar phrases. So, this is a great game, and I think it could be used in a school setting if they would have made some very minor adjustments. If you are going to take the time to edit words to make it more family-friendly, please do a better job!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Educational value
Kid, 11 years old July 22, 2010

Awesome music game will entertain the entire family!

This is a good game. I have it for the Wii and it rocks! There is some language. Some lyrics talk about making out or stuff like that. In one song called American Pie part of the lyrics talk about boys who are drinking. Females in the game might have semi-revealing clothing. The game can be quite challenging if it is you first time playing. But those familiar with Guitar Hero or Rockband will ace this game. This is a good game to improve hand-eye coordination. When you are online, you can download new music which might contain violence, sexual content, language and other bad stuff. So be aware. The game comes with 5 different levels of dificulty: Beginner, Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert. So if you are new to this type of game, it might be better to start off on beginner or easy.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old May 7, 2012

Never played this game,

but there was a typo in the review. It's not Adam Levin, it's Adam Levine.


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