Smule’s Magic Guitar – less game more magic, please

Dec 19, 2011
Games

There’s a lot to like about Smule’s new free iPhone app Magic Guitar. It has that classic Smule look, with neon strings and minimalist background. It aligns neatly into the palm of your hand to simulate a guitar neck, and the song options, though limited, are a nice selection. Where Magic Guitar departs from other […]

There’s a lot to like about Smule’s new free iPhone app Magic Guitar. It has that classic Smule look, with neon strings and minimalist background. It aligns neatly into the palm of your hand to simulate a guitar neck, and the song options, though limited, are a nice selection. Where Magic Guitar departs from other Smule music-making apps is that this is not an app at all, but rather a game, in the vein of Rock Band or any of the Tapulous Tap Tap series. The look and feel are different, but the basic gameplay, tapping the right “string” as it crosses a play line in sync with the beat, is familiar. If you love the genre, Smule adds some nice new elements, but if you’re looking for something more, well, magical, like Magic Fiddle, this time Smule misses the mark.

The game is easy to learn. Align the iPhone in your hand, and tap along to the beat. Gestures are required for bends, and shaking the iPhone creates pleasing vibratos. With some practice, game speed can be amped up to make things challenging. Players have a choice of three guitars and a limited catalog of songs, including “Amazing Grace” and “The Star Spangled Banner” (don’t tell Mr. Hendrix you can’t shred that!).

But the best songs are locked and can only be opened with virtual currency called “shred,” which can be earned in small amounts by playing well and completing in-app offers. Primarily it’s available for in-app purchase, of course, and the uber pack runs to $100. It’s exorbitant and off-putting. The smallest amount is $2.99, but that doesn’t go far.

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I am impressed with the sound quality, and with the ability to listen in on other players around the world. Smule always performs in the music department, but this offering lacks the creativity I’ve come to expect from the brand.

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Lisa Caplan

Lisa Caplan writes app lists and guides as well as reviewing iOS apps and games on various tech sites, most recently on her fledgling iPhone and iPad giveaway blog, AppTudes. She is thrilled to be joining the stellar reviewing team at Appolicious.

Located in a balmy Montreal suburb, Lisa has an advanced degree in Creative Writing, and has had an Apple computer by her side since 1979! She is a talentless art nut, bibliophile and accessory junkie. Lisa looks forward to sharing her gaming addiction and love for all tech that promotes culture, communication, social awareness and education at every level.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter @AppTudes for iOS news or @LisaTheAppChick for random nonsense.

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