PowerGig: Rise of the SixStrings First ImpressionsBy Sterling McGarvey - Posted Mar 30, 2010
Power Gig: Rise of the SixString is a new entry into the music/rhythm game genre. Before you roll your eyes at yet another genre entry, Seven 45 Studios is taking a different tack with this upcoming game. In this recently-announced title, you’ll have the opportunity to not only play through a new rhythm game, but use the peripheral as a real instrument.
That’s right: Next time someone snidely tells you to learn to play a real guitar while you're driving down the note highway, you can say that you have. When the team came by to show off the game in action, I got a glimpse at the hardware, and it’s quite impressive. You see, Seven 45 is a studio borne from First Act, the company that makes all of those starter instruments that you see at mass retailers like Wal-Mart and Target. First Act already knows how to market small instruments to the general public, so even the prototype I saw has the look and feel of a store-bought guitar.
How does it tie into the game itself? I got a quick look at the pre-alpha code. Seven 45 is mapping out a story-driven music game that’s less about going from garage to stadium and is more plot-driven, which the team promises will show up visually, as the stages you play transform during a track, and you’ll see the end results of how hard you rocked in game’s environments. Power Gig is broken up into two modes: Beatmatch and chord. Beatmatch mode seems to play out in a similar vein to the genre standards seen in other games. There’s a note highway, and you’ll activate “Mojo Power.” I was also reassured that the team will only be licensing master tracks. Fairly de rigueur stuff that’s to be expected.
It’s the chord mode that looks to separate Power Gig from its contemporaries. In this section of the game, you’ll take a step into between hitting a series of buttons and strumming a tune. In this section, the game tells you where to play numbers of notes, and it’s up to you to strum the right string. For example, if you see a green note with the number five, you know that you’ll need to hit the fifth string. Red notes might be represented by the fourth, and so on.
While the software itself seems like an interesting diversion, the peripheral seems to be the strongest selling point of Power Gig. It certainly interested me the most. The guitar peripheral is compatible with existing games. And unlike a defective strum bar, you won’t need to mail back the guitar if a string breaks; a trip to Guitar Center should suffice. And the most important question of how much the device will cost seems to be “competitively with any Rock Band bundle.” In addition, the guitar peripheral comes with a dampener that can be removed for you to noodle away at the guitar. You’ll be able to plug it into an amplifier and practice playing. Granted, it won't substitute for a Les Paul or something you can take onstage for a concert, but that's not what's made First Act so successful over the years.
For a first glimpse, the hardware driving Power Gig: Rise of the SixString looks mighty impressive. The game itself looks interesting from a proof of concept standpoint -- I wasn’t able to play it during the demo, since it’s still in its early stages -- but I’m reserving any big judgments for E3, when I’m sure that Seven 45 will be trumpeting it throughout the show.