Gaming on an Android has been, in my experience, disappointing at best. From Angry Birds to Fruit Ninja, I’ve been left wanting by most of the apps in the Google Play Marketplace. The quality just doesn’t seem to compare to the games on my iPod Touch 4G. As I was browsing through the Android marketplace today, I came across a game that was about as “copy cat” as you can get. It was called Music Hero.
Yeah, an obvious rip-off of Guitar Hero. And it also stated that you could play using music loaded from your phone. Now this is where these GH clones usually lose me. The included music selection is always some artist we’ve never heard of, and it’s pretty much always crap music. I’m no musical connoisseur, but I know enough to know that Kansas is great and Ke$ha sucks.
So I downloaded the app. I’m running it on an LG Optimus V, which has been okay at games, but nothing I would give up my 360 for. The game installs directly to the SD card, keeping internal memory free. I do like that.
The songs that came with it are, as I predicted, crap. It comes with three songs; UFO, Me Duele, and As I Lay Dying. None with words, just the musical tracks. I tried playing the UFO track before moving on to my own music. The graphics are comparable to Rock Band Unplugged for PSP (review here), but with less action. The music selection screen is mostly just rotating images in the background and a graphic of hands raised at a concert slowly moving toward and away from the screen. The actual game graphics are much less impressive, but they get the point across. There are no graphics in the background, and the musical notes come at you with a class GH style.
The graphics are, however, pretty fluid. I saw no glitches, no skipped frames, and no pausing. Give the bareness of it, the graphics are still pretty nice, and it’s very responsive to the touch required to hit the notes. I was not a fan of many of the games on iPod that were clones of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. They didn’t seem to have a response that allowed you to keep up with the track, which usually meant you ended up with a horrid score at the end.
So with the included track out of the way, I loaded up some Smashing Pumpkins and let the app load. It took about 30 seconds for the app to get the track ready. It was actually less time that I expected for a game that seemed so bare-bones. And completely unexpectedly, the track played flawlessly. There was no loss of audio quality, a fact I noticed in some other clones where the music seemed to get choppy or have a tin sound to it. The game also got the beat down pat. I was very impressed. By the end of the song, I had all but forgotten that I was playing a clone.
So while the graphics are semi-so-so, and the included tracks that come with it are little more than filler, the fact that this game can do so well with loaded songs from your collection is enough to make it worth downloading. Especially since it’s free. The only thing you have to deal with, it being a free game, is a full screen ad for another game at the very beginning. Other than that, I’m actually happy with Music Hero, and am planning on keeping it. After all, the best things in life are free.