(CBS News) "Rock Band Blitz" is not an instrument game at all as one would expect from the series. Instead, developer Harmonix, has created a cleverly disguised rhythm beat game more along the lines of "Beat Agents" and "Rhythm Heaven."
"Blitz" allows you to play the whole band with one controller, switching from one instrument to another, as you please. The more you choose to switch, the faster your points and overall score will increase. The default controls are utterly unintuitive, but can thankfully be changed to the "shoulders" configuration allowing you to use the triggers to switch tracks and the bumpers to hit notes - giving a much more symmetrical feel to the experience.
Once you get the hang of switching instrumental tracks you really appreciate what the game has to offer. Granted you aren't playing an actual instrument, but what "Blitz" does that "Rock Band" doesn't is isolate your selection. If you choose lead guitar, for example, the lead guitar will become the focus, and in turn easier to hear and play. Your instrument will no longer get lost in the mix. This addition really makes playing other instruments, which would otherwise be less fun, a pleasure to play.
Longer notes are a little boring since they're too easy - quicker rhythmic beats are more fun. For this reason most vocal tracks aren't a real thrill except for the more punchy songs. The beat icons for vocals also don't always match what you would anticipate. In fact, when playing certain songs you might start to sing out loud anyway and end up just making it harder to concentrate on the buttons you should be pressing. But let's be honest...some songs are just more fun to sing out loud.
"Blitz" is a creative way to keep the plastic band franchise alive without involving the plastic band. It's not exactly the next proper entry in the "Rock Band" series, but it's worthy of its reduced price of admission - you'll save the $250 on plastic instruments and still get to play along to all the songs.
It's a clever and intricate rhythm beat game under the "Rock Band" banner, but it really just kind of makes you want to play "Rock Band."
"Rock Band Blitz" is rated T for Teen by the ESRB. It is available now for Xbox 360 and PS3.