School of Rock Audition Review

School of Rock: Audition isn't much good for anything besides whiling away detention.

I saw School of Rock in a second-run theater a couple of weeks ago, and let me tell you something: Jack Black is a funny, funny man, and this movie is his finest hour. He dominates the screen, assaulting the audience with his hyperbolic characterization and then causing them to shake with giggles until overpriced Calistoga mineral water flows from their nostrils. At least that's what happened to me--your mileage may vary. I was expecting at least a fraction of Black's ineffable personality to show up in School of Rock Audition, Thumbworks' mobile interpretation of his new comedic masterwork; unfortunately, Thumbworks abandoned the levity of the film for a perfectly competent but unexceptional memory game, more likely to elicit a paroxysm of yawning rather than laughter.

Audition borrows a bit from the plot of the movie to get things started. You choose one of two schoolchildren and a starting instrument to demonstrate your musical chops to Black's teacher character, Dewey Finn, and gain admission to his band. From here the gameplay proceeds in standard memory game fashion--Dewey plays a little ditty, you play it back via button presses, and the sequence extends by one until you fail. Other than the sounds your phone makes when you play notes, your choice of student and instrument seem to have no bearing whatsoever upon the course of the game. If your short-term memory can support the required number of notes, you move on to a new instrument and a Dewey quote from the movie pops up; if not, you quit the game and download something better.

For a game oriented around music, Audition sounds surprisingly lackluster; the title music merely skirts annoyance rather than kicking ass, and the in-game tones are one step removed from lifeless beeps and boops. The graphics look decent and are reasonably true to the movie, other than that Dewey looks like he dropped twenty pounds and started using leave-in conditioner. If you do well enough at the game you can unlock ring tones and backgrounds for your phone, which could have been a nifty idea if they weren't mostly obnoxious. Perhaps a jam-and-record feature would have been a better choice--then I could infuse some Tenacious D tunes into the game and restore Jack to his rightful face-melting glory.

In the end, School of Rock: Audition isn't much good for anything besides whiling away detention. Have mommy write a note for this one.

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School of Rock Audition More Info

  • First Released
    • Mobile
    School of Rock: Audition isn't much good for anything besides whiling away detention.
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