With insanely popular television shows such as Fox’s American Idol and CBS’s Rock Star – not to mention our celebrity-obsessed culture – it’s no wonder video games are also allowing us to let our hair down and vie to become famous musicians.
Arguably the most-talked about video game on the planet is RedOctane’s Guitar Hero series, where you can plug in a guitar-shaped controller into your video game system and jam along with some of rock’s classic tracks.
But coming soon is a more strategic game for PC gamers, also designed to give wannabe stars a glimpse at what it takes to reach the top. Put your hands together and welcome Kudos: Rock Legend.
From the indie U.K. developer, Positech Games, the makers of Democracy and Kudos, comes this turn-based strategy/simulation hybrid (and with a dash of role-playing thrown in for good measure) that challenges players to go from rags to riches as a singer of a rock band – and you’ve got 10 years in which to do it.
The first order of business is to choose a name for yourself, select a male or female “avatar” to represent you in the game and give your band a name (type one in or select a predetermined one such as “The Undertakers”).
Then it’s time for you to hold auditions to find the rest of your band, including a guitarist, bassist and drummer – and others can be added over time, as well (such as a keyboardist). Each virtual player is presented with some strengths and weaknesses and you must choose one of three before your band is complete.
After that, you get to choose what you do on a daily basis and the order in which to do it. You could also do nothing all day, if you so choose, but this won’t get you very far, will it? If you have enough money, you can buy gear for your band or other key items such as lighting rigs, effects (such as pyrotechnics and smoke machines), music CDs for inspiration (and select which genres you like), merchandise to sell at gigs, staff members such as roadies to help lug your gear, and transportation to and from shows when you are good enough to play live (rent a beat-up van for $450 or a snazzy tour bus for $3000?).
By the way, unlike the original Kudos game we previously reviewed, currency is now in U.S. dollars instead of U.K. pounds.
You must also pay for the best rehearsal space you can afford, write songs by dragging and dropping notes onto sheet music (tweak the arrangement to increase the quality of the track) and have the band practice their chops by playing a kind of “Simon”-musical memory game by mimicking the notes played.
Your main screen shows the state of your character and the band along the right-hand side of the screen. A calendar and totals for your fame and fortune is at the top, while the bottom of the main screen shows icons you can click on for how you’d like to spend your time that day, such as writing, practicing, auditioning, buying, and so on.
If you manage your time and money wisely, before you know it you’ll go from playing cover tunes in a dive (with three people in the audience, plus a dog) to selling out huge stadiums to thousands of screaming fans, singing along with the songs you and the band wrote yourselves.
But be forewarned: much like Kudos, there isn’t a lot of onscreen action in Kudos: Rock Legend. That is, most of the game-play is clicking to make decisions such as buying equipment and putting together songs with notes and chords – rather than seeing and hearing your band rock out onstage (a la “Guitar Hero“). Instead, this game is a strategy game that demands tough decisions in order to rise up and become a rock god. It’s a different kind of experience but can be just as gratifying.
Music fans looking for a challenging band management game should watch for Kudos: Rock Legend to rise up the charts when it debuts.
Do you have what it takes to make it?