Imagine: Rock Star

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Imagine: Rock Star Game Poster Image
Music game lacks both polish and fun.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The game glamorizes the rock star profession and doesn't present a balanced portrayal of that life style. Players use cash earned from playing to buy outfits and new instruments at the mall.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game is a part of series of DS games produced by Ubisoft to help girls figure out what they want to be when they grow up. But this game glamorizes the musician's profession and stays away from the seedier aspects of a rock star's life (in fact, the girls' first gig is at the local public library). The songs in this music game are all instrumentals, so there's no need to worry about suggestive lyrics.

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What's it about?

Ubisoft's Imagine series is a collection of Nintendo DS games geared towards young girls and tweens that lets them explore professions like teacher, fashion designer, and animal doctor. In IMAGINE: ROCK STAR, players join an up-and-coming all-girl band that has its heart set on musical stardom.

Imagine: Rock Star is a rhythm action game where the goal is to play along with the song by tapping the screen in the correct rhythm as the corresponding symbols scroll by. The game mechanic changes slightly based on which instrument is chosen, whether it's tapping color-coordinated drums, bass strings, or keyboard keys, or strumming a guitar by dragging the stylus upward. In between playing songs, you can travel to the mall to buy new clothes and instruments, or go home to switch your wardrobe, put on different make-up, and look at the photos you've snapped of your character performing.

Is it any good?

The concept of trying to make video games more inclusive to girls is admirable, but when stacked up against other music games –- most notably Guitar Hero: On Tour - Imagine: Rock Star just doesn't cut it. Even on the hardest of three difficulty levels, the game doesn't offer much challenge. The music is a selection of generic, poorly-mixed pop songs (at the beginning you choose to be in a Pop, Rock, or Funk band, but it doesn't seem to affect song choice), graphics are sub-par, and the worst part is that you're stuck playing the same small group of songs over and over again until your popularity meter fills up enough for you to unlock the next set. On the positive side, the game's subject matter is innocent and squeaky clean – just not particularly enjoyable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether it's as much fun to tap the screen as it is to use Guitar Hero: On Tour's "Guitar Grip" peripheral and pick, or actually strap on a guitar controller or sit behind a drum kit in the console versions of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Does playing Imagine: Rock Star inspire you to get some friends together and join a real band? Do you think this game accurately reflects what it is like to be a rock star?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: UbiSoft
  • Release date: June 17, 2008
  • Genre: Music and Dance
  • ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)

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