MTV Games announced a DS version of Lego Rock Band at GamesCom this week, and we managed to get a first look at the game in action. There's plenty to like; it doesn't use an external peripheral, so not only is it compatible with all DS models, but it also won't induce a hand cramp. The gameplay is also very similar to Rock Band Unplugged on the PSP, which is a great thing because we very much liked that portable version of the game.
Lego Rock Band DS is essentially a juggling act of musical components--vocals, bass guitar, lead guitar, and drums. You move between each section of the song using the shoulder buttons and then tap out the onscreen rhythms using the D pad and face buttons. For example, the red note is played by pressing left on the D pad; yellow is up, green is the X button, and blue is A.
If you can keep everything going, then your band will enter a groove, and you'll begin to get multipliers. Playing well will also build up an overdrive mode, which you activate by holding down on the D pad and the B button while blowing or screaming into the mic. If you become a real pro, then there's also an expert difficulty mode, which incorporates the stylus instead of the face buttons.
The DS version of the game is lined up with some great tracks, such as Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'," Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters," and Kaiser Chiefs' "Ruby." The game also makes good use of the DS hardware, with full 3D graphics and all the character customisation we've come to expect from the series. You can play the game over local wireless with up to four friends, and while everyone will need a copy of the game, this will allow you to play as a complete band.
MTV Games promises that the DS game will come out alongside the other versions of Lego Rock Band before the end of the year and will arrive the same day in Europe and the US.