Music On: Electric Guitar (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Andrew 03.04.2015

Review for Music On: Electric Guitar on Nintendo 3DS

The first thing to say about Muisc On: Electric Guitar is that it's not a game in any sense of the word. That's not a bad thing, of course; many apps have already been released for the 3DS and many more will follow, but it's an important point to make. There are no high scores, levels or aims. It's an app strictly based around simulating an electric guitar on the 3DS console.

Music On: Electric Guitar aims to recreate the sound and feel of playing a guitar on the 3DS. For the most part, it is successful, although it doesn't take into account some of the unique advantages that not being an actual guitar might offer.

As with almost any instrument, there are subtleties to playing the guitar. Give two different players the task of playing the same piece, and it will invariably not sound the same, even if all the notes are played correctly by both. Care has been put into Electric Guitar to ensure that a lot of this subtlety translates. Some music apps settle for allowing users to select notes and lengths to create a piece. In Electric Guitar, the focus is not on the creation of a piece of sheet music, but on the playing itself. Flick the stylus over a string and a note will play. There is complete (and fully analogue) control of how long the note lasts and how loud it is. For the string-playing hand (typically the right hand), the playing feels very realistic given the restrictions of the console.

For the left hand, a slight cheat is used. Chords can be pre-selected and assigned to the D-pad/Circle Pad, whereas moving up and down the fret board is represented by where the stylus plays a particular string. The system is simple to pick up and quickly becomes second nature. The fact that the developers have not tried to fully simulate what both hands are doing is a strength, not a weakness, as it allows playing to be intuitive and easy to take on for those that can already play guitar.

The amount of chords on offer is another strength of the title, with over 900 available. Each one is easily located and assignable to the D-pad. The fact that each chord (for example, G# minor) has multiple variations is another plus that helps the simulation sound that bit more realistic.

Screenshot for Music On: Electric Guitar on Nintendo 3DS

Intuitive controls and a realistic sound are unfortunately not enough to make a brilliant app, though. One of the larger problems is figuring out what the point of the app is and who the target audience is. The app would not particularly appeal to people that do not know at least the basics of guitar playing, as it does not contain features like tutorials or advice on how to play. On the other hand, guitarists don't really need a simulation due to the fact that they already own the real thing. Obviously the app has the appeal or portability, but even so, it's asking people to pay for an inferior version of something they already own. That's not necessarily a criticism of the software, but an inevitable consequence of the nature of the title.

One thing that is disappointing, though, is that the app doesn't take into account enough of the unique advantages that the electronic nature of it provides. For example, being able to record lots of little riffs or chord combinations would have been immensely useful, allowing players to keep a record of little gems of inspiration that occurred whilst on the go and flesh them out later on a real guitar. Another example of a missed opportunity is the lack of ability to switch between guitars. The title may be called "Electric Guitar," but an option to switch between an electric and acoustic guitar (never mind metal guitars, jazz guitars, etc.) would have been fantastic.

The list of potential features that could have been added is, of course, near infinite, and perhaps it is a bit harsh to criticise on what has been left out, seeing as an app cannot possibly include everything one desires. However, it again comes back to the question of what the point of the app is and whom it will appeal to. It's a nice simulation of what it's like to play a guitar, but it needs to go beyond what a standard guitar can actually do to really become a must-have product.

Screenshot for Music On: Electric Guitar on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Music On: Electric Guitar has tried hard in some aspects to replicate how it feels and sounds to play a guitar. It's certainly not a bad effort, but the lack of additional features hurts the app. In addition, the concept won't appeal to everyone, but those that are intrigued will find reasons to come back for a five minute twiddle when the situation permits.

Developer

Abylight

Publisher

Abylight

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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