There are distinct advantages to an electric versus an acoustic guitar, such as being able to play for a larger audience using an amplifier. Unfortunately, a title that emulates the instrument on your DSi won’t offer any of these advantages, with the exception of manipulating the sound with various effects. Unlike a real axe, the latest edition of Music On isn’t easier to play than its acoustic cousin, but it does provide a more rock and roll sound that might appeal to all the hipsters and metal-heads out there. Not much has changed from the acoustic version, but there are a couple new features that musical creation fans might take an interest in.
The most notable difference from the earlier acoustic title is the addition of three pedals to produce distortion, flanger and delay. Each pedal is also applied on top of the previous pedal, which means that the application will produce a different sound depending on the order you changed the settings. This simple yet effective bonus to the electric iteration of the Music On guitar instantly makes it the superior version. Being able to produce a wider variety of sounds on a musical creation tool is always nice, and unlike in real life, anything you can play on your electric DSiWare guitar easily translates to the acoustic variation. Another new feature that warrants a mention is the ability to transpose up to three notes upwards or downwards, and a vibrato function to add some individual flavour to whatever you’re playing. After playing one string with the stylus and keeping contact with the touch screen, you can slide left or right to apply a frequency change. Again, variety is key to making a strong musical creation tool, and the game certainly succeeds in that aspect. Sadly, the accompaniment feature from the acoustic version is absent this time around.
The same control limitations from the prior release are still present, and are just as irritating as before – there are just too many buttons mapped to certain functions for you to reach them all at the same time. With practice, you can work your way around this, but will likely still find some things irritating, such as holding a chord that’s mapped to a diagonal on the D-Pad. The developers have once again chosen to omit a lefty flip option as well, so one out of ten people in the world shouldn’t bother downloading this.
Despite the problematic controls, the application is still useful and fun to play. Strings sound louder depending on how fast you swipe them with the stylus, and the new vibrato feature makes it even more interesting to play your favorite tunes. Just as before, the game doesn’t instruct you on how to play any songs, so inexperienced guitar players will have to search the Internet for chords and strumming patterns. Luckily, this is fairly easy, and most people should be able to find a simple and free guitar tablature website with very little difficulty.
Music On: Electric Guitar is meant for someone who already knows their way around the instrument in real life. If you enjoy writing or playing music to yourself when you’re out and about, this title might just be for you, but novices should avoid wasting their points because of complicated controls and the lack of any tutorial. This is a great way to express your creativity if you already possess the necessary skills, but if you need something just a bit more user friendly, the Music On versions of pianos and keyboards might be better suited to your needs.