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What's it about?
Gamers whose thumbs aren't throbbing yet from all the music video games these days might want to wrap their hands around GUITAR HERO ON TOUR: DECADES. It's the second Guitar Hero game on the Nintendo DS title that ships with a "Guitar Grip" peripheral, which snaps inside the Game Boy Advance slot underneath the portable game system; players then hold the game system like a guitar and strum along using a guitar pick-stylus hybrid (also included) on the bottom touch-screen. If you already have the Guitar Grip from the first Guitar Hero: On Tour game then you can pick up the less expensive game-only option.
Just like the game's predecessor, players assume the role of an up-and-coming rock band and must work their way up from playing grungy clubs to packed arenas. While listening to the 28 songs, you watch notes sail down the neck of a guitar and then press the corresponding color at the right time, while also strumming.
Is it any good?
This sequel offers the same concept but includes all new songs, divided into "decades," as the name suggests: the '70s (e.g. Edgar Winter Group's "Free Ride"), the '80s (Bon Jovi's "You Give Love A Bad Name"), the '90s (Blind Melon's "No Rain" and today's hits (Fall Out Boy's "The Take Over, The Breaks Over"). But the game also adds a couple of new features such as the ability to stream songs with the original Guitar Hero: On Tour and playing through one of three different solo career paths, each with their own story: Lead Guitar, Bass Guitar, and Guitar Duel.
These new additions are welcomed, especially the former, as it essentially doubles the number of songs in the game so long as you have a friend nearby with the original Guitar Hero: On Tour. If you liked the original and didn't have a hard time pressing the relatively small buttons on the Guitar Grip accessory, then this sequel will deliver more fun for rockers on the go. It does feel like more of an add-on than a completely new game (available less than six months after the original!), but it still proves to be a good time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about if music games work on a portable system such as the Nintendo DS, with snap-in accessories, or is it like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole? Are companies jumping onboard the music bandwagon too heavily without thinking of the medium they're being played on? Or on the flipside, does a Nintendo DS "Guitar Hero" make perfect sense for mobile gamers?
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