Linkin Park, the pop-rock outfit made popular in the early ’00s, released their very own iPhone game this week that steps away from the typical genre of music game apps in the App Store. Instead of functioning as a game based on rhythm challenges, Linkin Park’s 8-Bit Rebellion! pays homage to the early 8-bit video games with missions, kick-punches to villains, and even interacting with other users playing the game, heavily incorporating real-world social networking. Tunes also play a big part, of course, with 8-bit versions of the band’s hits playing throughout and with an exclusive track serving as the reward for beating the game.
It looks like other bands may be following suit, as Gorillaz recently announced their iPhone game is in development and will hit the App Store soon. The virtual band has developed games in the past for the Internet, but this is the group’s first go at a mobile game. It definitely sounds like one that shouldn’t be missed.
Who else is going to take the plunge and release their own iPhone game? Your guess is as good as mine, but in the mean time, let’s take a look at Linkin Park’s inaugural attempt.
Despite whatever feelings you may have toward the band and their music, the story here is pretty fun and not as corny as you might guess. Players fight the evil company Pixxelcorp, which is steadily working to ruin gaming with high-definition graphics, and do so by helping the six members of Linkin Park get back their stolen music tracks. Remixed 8-bit versions of the group’s hits serve as the soundtrack throughout the game. Complete challenges throughout the town using an avatar you’ve created and get to the end, where you can unlock the real-world exclusive Linkin Park track “Blackbirds.”
The gameplay, like the story, is fairly simple. The controls are limited to moving, running, and punching, and they’re simple to use on the iPhone. My one complaint here? Using the punching control can be a bit clumsy, as you have to get close enough to your victim, but the moving control doesn’t always cooperate like you would hope it would. More often than not when I was fighting with an enemy, I ended up in the hospital. Bad gaming skills? Perhaps. But I’m sure I’m not the only one having trouble with this.
Upgrade your fighting options by collecting coins from the enemies you defeat and buying weapons (or other accessories) at some of the shops around town. You can even purchase things like decorations for your avatar’s apartment (including Linkin Park artwork and posters, of course) or new clothes.
You can track your progress in the mission and map out your location, moving in between the six different districts you need to hit to talk to other characters (from the band) and get tips and clues to make it to the end of the game. You also see avatars of other users playing the game as you walk through the town, which is where the coolest part of the game really comes in.
Social networking and online interactivity are the big highlights of the game. As long as you’re using an Internet connection (the game itself doesn’t require one), you can connect your Avatar to your personal social sites like Facebook, then connect with other players in real life. In the app, you can receive friend requests and e-meet people through your avatar. Tapping another player’s avatar brings up a small menu of options to get to know them better through Facebook or even a real-time chat.
Like the 8-bit vintage-styled Linkin Park tunes played throughout the game? The main menu also has a feature to let you stream the eight 8-bit songs and two original songs, as well as check out news from the band.
Recap & Conclusion
Linkin Park’s 8-Bit Rebellion!
Released: April 26, 2010
Our grade: B+
Rebellion! has a lot going for it. The design and effects are vintage, cool, and clever (mostly designed by Mike Shinoda of the band, FYI). The game objective is easy enough for most. And, most of all, the concept is pretty darn cool. Instead of seeing yet another Tap Tap game for a specific artist that costs a few bucks more than it should, we see an entirely original concept here suited specifically for a band and that band’s core audience.
All that being said, gamers will not be satisfied with this one unless they’re real Linkin Park fans. The game is definitely too easy and not quite stimulating enough for their tastes. The app is also a little too expensive (especially if you’re not a Linkin Park fan), and some parts are clumsy and glitchy. However, if this app takes off like I’m guessing it will, it looks like Linkin Park has opened the door for a whole ‘nother genre of apps for musicians. And for that, we all need to give it some serious props.