Guitar Hero 5 for BlackBerry is a musical rhythm game developed by GLU and distributed by Bplay. The Guitar Hero series is a megahit on game consoles and pioneered a whole new genre of expensive controllers and premium downloadable extra songs.
The object of the game is to hit the musical notes with good timing. The more notes you correctly hit in a row, better your bonus multiplier gets and the bigger your score will be. You still get partial points for a near miss so to get great scores you’ve got to hit the notes bang-on. You get the most points for a long streak so try not to drop the ball or your bonus multiplier gets reset to zero.
I found the controls very odd on my full keypad BlackBerry. Controlling the 3 notes are 3 groups of keys, SD, GH, and KL. It’s cool how there are 2 keys to hit instead of a single tiny key. What bothers me about the controls are the gaps, the F and the J are non-functional keys probably meant to give you a little bit of space for your thumbs. What they really do is get in the way: most of the errors I made were because of the gaps keys being hit instead of the note keys.
If I were to reformulate the full-keypad controls I would put the active buttons on the top row with no gaps: ER for the left, TY for center, and UI for right. I imagine the Pearl‘s big buttons and Storm’s touchscreen entry methods are better suited to this game.
The career mode features achievements for in-game performance like long note streaks, playing a lot of songs in a single city and good performance. This is a nice touch and I’m glad to see more games using achievements, they add another layer of fun on top of a game and I believe every game should have them.
When a game asks you to close other applications before playing, it has got to be resource-heavy. I found that if you ignored the warning, the song would become quite out of sync with the notes and you’ll still be playing notes long after the song is over. Even when I did close all my running apps, the notes weren’t quite synced up. I wish they had made some design compromises in porting to the BlackBerry. I would have gladly taken synced notes over crowd animations.
These performance issues take away the one thing that makes Guitar Hero fun: playing notes that approximate you playing the real songs.
Speaking of real songs, Guitar Hero 5 for mobile is just under $10 and as a result all the songs are covers played by no-name bands. Get used to seeing the “made famous by” words before each song because all of the music from this game has been done on the cheap. This is a good move considering that anything above the $10 mark for a game like this would be too much to ask.
The high-quality versions of the songs have to be downloaded after you’ve installed the game, otherwise you’ll get the computer-generated versions. I have found the game sync issues severe enough that I started playing the game with the sound off and playing my own music collection from the music player app.
I give Guitar Hero 5 Mobile for BlackBerry 1.5 stars out of a possible 5 stars. I found the gameplay more fun on previous Guitar Hero Mobile games. The performance issues and the lagging notes are not befitting of a $10 title. The controls on the full keyboard BlackBerry needs some work, specifically removing the gaps in the keys.