Rise to Fame presents a novel concept: What if a rock band was like a band of heroes? Instead of dealing damage to kill the enemy, they dole out satisfaction to win a crowd over. It seems so simple that it makes you wonder how it had never been done before. It piqued my interest instantly.
In Rise to Fame, your band consists of the four rock staples: vocals, guitar, bass, and drums. Each character is different and presents a different role. Like most rock bands, your singer and main guitarist are the main sources of crowd satisfaction. The bassist and drummer are primarily there for support. The roles are fitting and funny in a sad way.
Seriously, can you name all the members of a four-man band other than The Beatles? Did you know Metallica has had three bassists? Hell, who was Nirvana’s drummer before Dave Grohl? Unless you’re a true fan, there’s a good chance you can’t.
As your band plays to a restless crowd, the unruly masses may try to disrupt your set. It starts off small, such as a can being thrown at a band member, but later stages have heavier consequences. An attention-loving girl may flash someone, causing them to lose focus and miss with skills, or managers may try to sign the band to a fake contract. It’s funny, a bit corny, but very much devoted to the theme. There’s only one reliable way to stop these interruptions, and that’s the drummer’s “Cymbal Toss” skill. The problem is that each skill has a cooldown time and your drummer may not be ready when the next jerk decides to mess with you.
You finish a stage after filling the satisfaction meter on the right. Each stage has three difficulty levels with varying crowd disruptions, as well as fame and coin rewards. Fame works as your level system in Rise to Fame. Gaining a Fame level often unlocks new skills, upgrades, instruments, or costumes. Coins are then used to purchase them.
The best costumes are unlocked and purchasable from the get-go. They are expensive at 30,000 coins apiece, and I feared the in-app purchase button when I wrote up a preview for the game. That fear was unwarranted. Rise to Fame is very fair with the rewards. I had no trouble grinding out a few gigs to buy them. Think of the coin shop as a tip jar and nothing more.
Battles are a breeze to control. Though the buttons are small on an iPhone, I seldom hit the wrong button and only when I was distracted. You then alternate between your rockers while their skills cooldown or mojo (think magic points) regenerates and try to keep the crowd from wrecking your gig.
There are a lot of glaring problems with Rise to Fame, though. First off, the game is simply too easy. The difference in pay between one venue isn’t that big. So, it just makes more sense to play the easier stage until you can afford to make your upgrades. I imagine it would be more challenging if you simply tried to play through the game without grinding, but I grew up on Dragon Warrior. Do you know how many Goldmen I had to kill? Every battle feels the same aside from the song or background changing and can be beaten by the same tactics.
Then there are the venues themselves. If Joe’s Bar is far smaller than the Arena or the Castle, why are there only ten people in the crowd? As you progress, you don’t feel more famous. Between sets, your band is still in the same cramped little backstage area just moping by themselves. Oh, plus zombies for the sake of zombies? Come on, there had to be a better choice than that. Where are the biker gangs or even crazy chicks?
The biggest issue, though, is that the complete lack of story segments leaves you feeling empty when all is said and done. It took me about two and a half hours to hit the level cap of 20 and beat the game. Even something as simple as an end graphic with the band celebrating or a cut scene where they sign with a major label would have made it feel like I accomplished something. Instead, all you get is an endless mode and a leaderboard.
Rise to Fame is a terrific concept that doesn’t have a lot to offer beyond that. With no story or tangible rewards to keep playing, your time with Rise to Fame will ultimately be brief and forgettable.
(Rise to Fame costs $.99 and features GameCenter integration with achievements and leaderboards for the unlockable endless mode. iPad users will want to pick up Rise to Fame HD for $1.99, instead.)Tweet
About the Author
|Fade to Slack is a founding member of Delta Attack, an American expatriate in South Korea, and a true believer in the legitimacy of mobile gaming.
Keep up with him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Fade2Slack so he can justify having a Twitter account.
Fade to Slack has written 308 posts on Delta Attack.