Review: “Rock Band Reloaded” Lets You Play Anywhere. But Is That A Good Thing?

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Most of us have had delusions of grandeur where we were in a world-famous rock band, jamming on stage with our closest friends. The truth is, most of us lack the talent to pick up the guitar or drums, or even open our mouths and exercise our vocal chords. The Rock Band video game series has at least let us pretend that we had some skill (and we could work on improving in the comfort of our own homes). But now the new iPhone version of Rock Band lets users take the game on the go.

(More on TIME.com: Rock Band 3 Review: You Might Accidentally Learn an Instrument)

Rock Band Reloaded is the revamped version of that game for iPad and iPhone, allowing more multiplayer aspects and corrects some of the gaming console glitches that seemed to always shut down the song when you were most in the groove. In addition to the upgraded graphics and ability to brag about your scores to your friends more easily, you can actually play the vocal part this time, singing into your device instead of using the track pad tapping option. (Although that option is still available if you don’t want to bother those riding on the subway with you with your nasal voice.) Gameplay is now horizontal instead of vertical, so you don’t have to squeeze your fingers into impossible positions to hit all those notes. Plus with an additional expert mode, there’s tons more to master. It’s Harmonix’s highest production value to date: With the characters moving to the music, it almost seems like you’re playing the console game… on a much smaller screen. The iPad version allows a dueling banjo mode where you literally face off with a friend on either side of an iPad on the same song. You can also play on the same team however on the same device and connect with other iPhones and iPads that may want to join your virtual band. But, don’t fret if all the changes won’t make you loose all those hours of practice on the original Rock Band: It’s basically the same game, just with a easier to use interface.

(More on TIME.com: Learn How to Play the Fiddle on Your iPad)

There are some downsides, including the fact that you can’t bring the songs from the original Rock Band mobile phone game to the new one, so they act as separate entities. The worst part of the game though: The singing function may encourage you to bust your pipes out in public, and that’s not always appreciated by everyone else around you. Trying to sing “Hungry Like the Wolf” on the street will get you more stares than applause. Plus, for some reason, the meter seems to go up when you’re NOT singing. Whether that’s because of the vocal talent of the tester or a game glitch, we’ll never know.

(More on TIME.com: Axl Rose Sues Activision Because Slash Is In “Guitar Hero 3″)

Song List

AVAILABLE TODAY WITH PURCHASE OF THE GAME

Tracks Included In Initial Download:

3 Doors Down - Kryptonite

Alice in Chains - Your Decision

Beastie Boys – So What’cha Want

Billy Idol - White Wedding

Drowning Pool - Bodies

Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf

Evanescence - Call Me When You’re Sober

Megadeth - Peace Sells

Nine Inch Nails - The Perfect Drug

Nirvana – In Bloom

No Doubt - Hella Good

Pat Benatar - Heartbreaker

Seether – Remedy

Steve Miller Band - Rockn’ Me

Vampire weekend – A-Punk

Additional tracks available free today in the Music Store:

Anarchy Club – Blood Doll

Anarchy Club – Get Clean

Bang Camaro – Night Lies

Bank Camaro – Pleasure (Pleasure)

The Main Drag – A Jagged Gorgeous

Death of the Cool – Can’t Let Go

Additional tracks available through In App Purchase today:

Roy Orbison – Mean Woman Blues

Roy Orbison – You Got It

Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies

Flogging Molly – Requiem For A Dying Song

COMING SOON THROUGH IN APP PURCHASE

The Pretenders – Blue Christmas

Billy Squier – Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You

The All American Rejects – Dirty Little Secret

The All American Rejects – Real World

Third Eye Blind – Never Let You Go ‘09

Third Eye Blind – Semi-Charmed Kind of Life ‘09

No Doubt – Underneath It All

No Doubt – Don’t Speak

Blink-182 – What’s My Age Again

Blink-182 – Adam’s Song

COMING SOON FREE TRACKS IN MUSIC STORE

Honest Bob and The Factory To Dealer Incentives – I Get By

Honest Bob and The Factory To Dealer Incentives – Entangled

Little Fish – Am I Crazy

Picture Me Broken – Dearest (I’m So Sorry)

Megasus – Megasus

Tribe – Outside

Tijuana Sweetheart – Seven

The Acro-Brats – Day Late, Dollar Short

MeTalkPretty – Wake Up

Cate Sparks – Whatever Happened To You

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