Jam Sessions

Common Sense Media says

Your DS becomes a guitar, but without music games.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language

A couple of the songs contain "damn" and "Hell." One of the song titles is "Jack-Ass."

Consumerism

Players can perform songs by commercial artists such as Avril Lavigne, Coldplay, Nirvana, and Beck.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game is designed to simulate playing the guitar, so gamers expecting music games will be disappointed. Younger gamers might get bored with the game's simple, no-frills interface and lack of characters, story, and traditional gameplay challenges. Older players with an ear for music should have fun teaching themselves to "play."

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

JAM SESSIONS is not really a game but a portable guitar simulation that allows you to realistically re-create the experience of playing guitar along with your favorite tunes. Once you've mastered the basics, you can experiment in Free Play mode and record your ideas for posterity (you can transfer your creations off the DS using a line-in cable). You don't \"win\" anything by playing through a song accurately.

The interface is exceedingly simple: It's literally a guitar string stretched across the DS' lower screen with the stylus doubling as a plectrum for strumming. Up to eight musical chords (such as C, Am and G7) are mapped to the eight directions of the directional pad. By holding down one of the buttons and dragging the stylus across the string, you can strum a chord. Jam Sessions has a library of more than 100 chords you can map to the chord palette, and you can also assign effects such as Distortion, Chorus, and Flanger to the L and R buttons to apply on the fly.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It's quite amazing how realistically Jam Sessions captures the mechanics of guitar playing. For example, longer stylus strokes create louder chords. Up- and down strokes sound different as they do in real life, and you can even do muted string effects (to re-create the cool wocka-wocka sounds in "Wild Thing," for example).

Jam Sessions would be more accessible if it had some sort of game mode. As it stands, it remains a rather idiosyncratic piece of software. It's also a shame that you can't record vocals via the DS microphone along with your guitar playing. However, Jam Sessions is still a useful tool for budding composers and serves as a great stepping stone towards learning to play a real guitar.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the musical pieces the child has composed and why they chose certain chords. What chords naturally sound good together? How do major, minor, and seventh chords relate to each other? Does this game make them want to play an instrument in real life?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:UbiSoft
Release date:September 13, 2007
Genre:Music and Dance
ESRB rating:E10+ for Mild Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes (Nintendo DS)

This review of Jam Sessions 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.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

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

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Fun in the beginning

this game will hook you at first with it looking like guitar hero by it ends up to dissapoint it is confuseing and hard!!

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide