Lego Rock Band

November 12, 2009

By now, most people have played Rock Band. You know the gameplay, you know the style and you know the pros and cons to the interface and the controls. What really matters in Lego Rock Band is this: what’s here that’s different?

Well, it’s easiest to consider this game in two parts: the song list and the campaign structure. Lego Rock Band is compatible with any Rock Band songs that are on your hard drive (as long as they’re not particularly explicit), and the game comes with a voucher to export the songs to other Rock Band games. Because of that, the two parts are almost completely separate.

So, for the campaign and customization: it’s Lego. Your avatar is Lego, and you can customize it with Lego clothes and heads and instruments. You can also customize your band, manager, roadies, and home base. The process isn’t as detailed, but it’s authentic to the Lego experience: there are limited pieces with limited colors, and you put them together. The campaign takes you to strange-yet-fitting Lego settings, like a construction site or space. Each area ends with a “challenge” to take care of some objective, and though there’s not much special to these gameplay-wise, the ending song is interspersed with visual representations of how your performance is affecting the goal. For some reason, Tt Games and Harmonix put a focus on Queen in the title. It’s an awkward fit for kids; the songs are fun, but the game keeps having to explain that the group is famous and successful.

Also in Lego Rock Band are options to make the game easier for little ones, like disabling the kick pedal or turning on very easy mode. The game doesn’t include any online play, though…presumably as a measure to keep the game safe for children.

Then there’s the song list. Where Activision’s Band Hero has focused on trendy, new pop songs, Lego Rock Band has a wider selection. Sure, there’s a little Blink 182 and All American Rejects, but there’s also some Jimi Hendrix, Elton John and Tom Petty thrown in. There are also fun diversions like Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters,” Europe’s “The Final Countdown” and a Spinal Tap track. For $50, the 45-song pack is a decent value, and if that’s all you want, you can export them with an included code for a $10 fee and trade the disc in to more than recoup that cost. It’s unfortunate that the export costs money, but Harmonix learned from previous attempts that people would just borrow the disc or buy cheap used versions.

This is a nice title, but not on its own. It’s a nice kid-friendly mod for the Rock Band songs you already have, and it’s an entertaining song pack to export and use with the other titles. If you don’t have more songs, though, it’s a little light.

ESRB: E10+– That’s kind of the point.
Pros: Rock Band, Lego stuff if you like that kind of thing
Cons: Well…Lego stuff if you don’t like that kind of thing

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.