Setup & Timing
Monster Band is very easy to navigate for new players. "Multiplayer" is right on the main menu and "Share" is on the Multiplayer menu, alongside a wireless connection icon. The opening credits are a little long, but the download completes in under 45 seconds.
Menus & Navigation
The menu system is well labeled, and the labels all make perfect sense. There are no specific borders between tappable options and no buffer zones, so the menu will be a little sensitive to tapping on menu options.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
Gameplay in Monster Band is entirely based on a tapping mechanic. Players need to tap in the right place at the right time. The tap acceptance works fine within the game, but the problem lies in the dials(/circles) overlapping and obscuring each other, so they either can't be seen or where it's difficult to tell which should be tapped first.
Category Score: 11.5 / 15
Graphically, Monster Band is a mixed bag. The graphics on the touch screen are simple and (excluding the dials) barely move. On the upper screen, a character in full 3D plays the instrument you're tapping on. Sound-wise, the game is fine; nothing spectacular (it's not full MP3 wuality), but there's nothing wrong the sound either. In other words, the sound is clear and concise. The music, however, is not the original artist(s) within the game (Single-Card Download and otherwise), so be prepared. In the Single-Card Download play mode, there is one song available to play: "The Final Countdown" which was originally recorded by Europe. No other songs are compatable, including those written in-game.
One of my favorite games on the Nintendo DS system is Elite Beat Agents. That game is based on a tap mechanic where you have to tap in a specific place at a specific time, with increased accuracy = increased points. Monster Band is a very similar game in mechanics. It is not as hard or as good as Elite Beat Agents (EBA), but it's not a "bad game" like many other bargain-bin titles. It's playable and can be enjoyed. Monster Band's simpler nature means it can serve as an introductory game to EBA. It can also serve as a supplement for people who've already played EBA and who've possibly imported either of the two Ouendan games (the Japanese versions). If you play rhythm and music games, you could do far worse than Monster Band. For die-hard, hard core music gamers who play expert on Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, I wouldn't recommend it. For people looking to dabble in the genre to find out if they want to explore further, I'd recomment it as an inexpensive, sometimes fun way to experiment before diving into the genre head-first. I would also recomment Monster Band for kids who like games that can be easy or hard (depending on the difficulty they choose) and who like music in their games.
Insert in-mennu borders or buffer zones (in between options).
Differentiate the dials(/circles) so that they do not overlap and so that their under is made more clear.
Offer a variety of songs to choose from before the download begins.
Allow players to share the songs they've written.
Provide the ability to send a song (or an instructional tutorial) as a downloadable demo.
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 75 / 100 (a.k.a. 37.5/50)
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