Developer, Anotherway, scratches that Guitar Hero itch with its PlayStation VR2 launch title, Unplugged: Air Guitar.
Oculus and Steam VR players have had access to this game for a while, but now PSVR 2 owners can live out their dream of being a rock god. Under the tutelage of legendary Steel Panther frontman, Satchel, players get to rock the air guitar as they’ve never done before.
I doubt many people haven’t, at one time in their life, wielded an air guitar. With Unplugged, Anotherway has taken that irresistible urge to join in and strum along with rock legends, throwing in a pinch of Guitar Hero to make the ultimate VR rhythm game.
Back in the day, the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games were my guilty pleasure. I still have my massive Rock Band Song Library on my PS5, ready for me to pick up the axe, once more, should the need arise.
In doing away with the need for a physical guitar peripheral, Unplugged makes it even easier to enjoy music and become part of the show. Just as it does with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Unplugged: Air Guitar, allows you to not only hear the music but take centre stage as an active participant in the music, soaking in every beat and every riff.
The magic of VR places a virtual guitar in front of the player. By griping the whammy bar and neck of the guitar it can be positioned at the right height and angle for comfortable strumming and hitting the right chords.
The game eased me into the art of VR air guitar with a comprehensive tutorial, in Satchel’s inimitable style, and a selection of less challenging tracks. To start the first track, I simply grasped the virtual guitar pick in front of me and the gig began.
The premise is simple, but mastery is a challenge. Like other guitar rhythm games, you stum the strings in time with the indicated notes that approach. The difference with Unplugged is that you are actually strumming. You are also not only moving your virtual fingers on the strings but also their position on the fretboard.
It’s still not like playing a real guitar, but it is certainly very sophisticated for an air guitar. Some notes need to be held and others just require running your fingers up and down the frets. The neck of the guitar moves with your “hand” position, allowing for dramatic axe poses.
The game comes with a decent, but not huge, selection of just over 20 tracks. The licenced songs are good, but some of them are not the artist’s most popular songs. There are tracks from the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Rush, and Tenuous D. Strumming along to the likes of The Clash’s “Should I stay or Should I go, Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” and “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum is a delight.
There are quite a few songs from Steel Panther, the group’s comedic glam rock pastiche suiting the game’s tongue-in-cheek styling. I do hope that we get more licenced tracks available as DLC later on.
The campaign has you selecting tracks from virtual vinyl albums like an old jukebox. You can also select the location of your gig, with new locations unlocking as you progress. You can also spend your virtual currency on new guitars and accessories. It’s not a real campaign, just a way of getting you through the included songs and unlocking more albums.
Packed with enough rock cliches to make Jack Black blush, Unplugged: Air Guitar fills the void left by the demise of the guitar-based rhythm game. Not only that, but also offers up a modern, VR alternative that is a lot more fun. It could do with better songs and being a bit more fleshed out, but it is still a solid PSVR 2 game. One to buy if you enjoy this sort of game and it is a good game to play with friends.
Rating: Very Good