Battlin’ Bands on the Wii More Twangy than Melodic

BBOver the past few years, the Rhythm genre has been effectively controlled by the likes of a few companies that are able to bring the goods, such as exclusive tracks and big name artists, creating excellent games and effectively, fun for all, but cornering the market.

Seriously, after playing “Rock Band,” or “Guitar Hero,” do you really have to look anywhere else?

However, in spite of this, THQ’s “Battle of the Bands” throws a different note into the genre, creating a “musical combat” game that has over 30 songs, including “Give it To Me Baby” by Rick James, “Spoonman” by Soundgarden, “Black Betty” by Ram Jam and “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J, with five different types of bands [11 in all consisting of Country, Marching Band, Hip Hop Rock and ]to “play” them. The end result is a fun one that is worth your time, but in the end, the experience pales in comparison to the offerings by other companies.

Feeling like the old PS2 cult-classic “Frequency,” [even the in-game level “tube” looks a bit similar] with a bigger pair of nads, “Battle of the Bands” forces gamers to wield the Wii-mote and swing it in the direction the game is asking. Sure, you’ll look like an idiot while playing, but you’ll have a decent time swinging your hands around.

Think of it as a less-cool version of the “Born to Hand-Jive” sequence in “Grease.”

No, there isn’t any singing or “playing” instruments here. However, the core gameplay experience is intriguing enough to keep your attention long enough to merit a bargain bin purchase or a rental.

Players are rewarded when their timing is just right and after a while they are able to attack their opponent, causing damage and gaining points, vital to winning. Going back and forth during the course of a song, “Battle of the Bands” has an almost “Deliverance” battling-banjo feel to it, which makes gameplay a heck of a lot of fun. Going through the few gameplay modes such a s

However, the controls aren’t as tight as you’d expect from a game that needs them to be perfect. Because of this, when the game is over, you’ll feel that unlike other rhythm games on other systems, that require a boatload of skill, anyone can beat anyone in “Battle of the Bands,” and there’s no real skill involved in mastering it.

Had their been tighter control and a few more options, this title could have indeed been the cult classic games like “Frequency” and “Amplitude: were on the PS2. In a market that demands a lot of content, “Battle of the Bands” 30 tracks wear too thin, too quickly as well. Combine these two elements and you have a rhythm series with potential, but not much else.

Overall, it’s a good diversion, but stick to the “Rock Band” or “Guitar Hero” for your music fix on the Wii.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 12202 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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