Rock Band Unplugged Review

Posted: June 24, 2009 in Games


Rock Band has finally gone portable, here is my review of Rock Band Unplugged for the PSP.

I was a bit skeptical to play a Rock Band game with no peripherals. However Rock Band Unplugged works on a different level. The game plays more along the lines of the Harmonix classic games Frequency and Amplitude. You scroll between instruments and have to hit a certain amount of notes in a row to essentially have that instrument play on its own for a short amount of time. As much as this works to play the songs it is also the game’s biggest fault. Playing each instrument in the same exact fashion gets old and each instrument does not feel like its own instrument like the console versions. I understand this is probably the only way to do the lead guitar, bass, and drums without peripherals but vocals are also done in this fashion. In my opinion they should have made use of the PSP microphone for vocals. Or at least have an option to use it. This would have brought the game closer to its console counterparts.

Like I said earlier the gameplay is a lot like Frequency and Amplitude. Those were amazing games but one thing they didn’t do correctly is that you need to hit every note to get that track to play on its own. If you miss one note you need to do it until you get it right. While this is happening your other instruments will suffer and possibly fail. This is not a problem on the easier difficulties but can become a pain on hard and expert.

One major problem is the complete lack of any kind of wireless play. No tug-of-war, battle or anything like that. This would be a great use of wireless play but it is nowhere to be found.

The audio is very well done and the songs are what you’d expect to see in a Rock Band game. Unfortunately there are only a handful of new songs. All the other songs have been used in previous Rock Band games. There is also a lot less songs that other Rock Band games. This is understandable due to the limitations of the UMD. However this means you will be playing the same songs over a lot.

Graphics look pretty good and look like a slightly scaled down version of the console games. One thing I noticed was the band members don’t have the same reactions they do in the console versions. You can tell how good or bad you are doing by looking at your character on the console games. In Unplugged you don’t get that kind of feedback.

Overall Rock Band Unplugged is a decent music game for the gamer on the go but it does not come close to the experience of the console Rock Band titles.


  • Great audio and some awesome songs
  • Plays like Frequency/Amplitude
  • Very nice portable music game experience


  • Limited track list, hardly any new songs
  • No wireless play
  • All instruments play exactly the same
  • Having instruments fail because you have to ignore them to hit all the notes on another

Overall Score: * * *

(All scores are out of 5 stars)

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