Xbox 360
3.5 stars
Overall Grade
3.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Game Itself
3 Stars
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
3.5 Stars
The Audio: Rating the Sound
5 Stars
Replay Factor
4 Stars

Rock Band Blitz

Street Date:
August 29th, 2012
Reviewed by:
Review Date:1
September 20th, 2012
Game Release Year:
Xbox 360
ESRB Rating:
T (Teen)


Harmonix has carved out quite a niche for themselves, essentially creating an entire genre of gaming. You know you've made it when other companies crank out cheap knockoffs of your signature series. And while Rock Band has taken the world by storm, Harmonix cut its teeth on rhythm games that didn't require instruments. In that regard, Rock Band Blitz is a return to the developer's roots. Whether it stacks up to Harmonix's classic pre-Rock Band titles is another matter.

The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Rock Band Blitz strives for simplicity. You choose a song and the game begins. There are four (or five, depending on if a song supports keyboards) music tracks. Each music track has a left and right side. Notes pop up on both sides of the track, and you hit the note by flicking your left or right analog stick in time with the music. Unlike regular Rock Band, here you are not restricted to a single instrument. You can freely switch between tracks, and lose no points for missing notes on tracks you're not currently playing. The more notes you get correct, the higher your score multiplier goes. There are checkpoints throughout the song, and you can only raise the multiplier on each track three times per checkpoint. So, at the start of the game, you can raise each track up to 3x. When you hit the checkpoint, the multipler goes up by three. So if you're at 3x, it goes up to 6x.

But it's not that simple. The multiplier only goes up by three if all of your tracks are at the top possible multiplier by the time you hit the checkpoint. In other words, the multiplier only goes up as high as your lowest track. So if you have three tracks at 3x, but even one track at 1x when you hit the checkpoint, the possible maximum doesn't go up at all. If one of your tracks is at 2x, the maximum possible will only raise up to 5x. The trick is not taking up too much time on any one given track, and figuring out which ones will give you the best score at the same time. It's a delicate balance and can change drastically from song to song. On the surface, that's it. But, of course, there's a little more to it than that.

The game also offers several different power-ups. Some affect individual tracks (mainly giving extra points for playing a particular track more than the others). Some offer special abilities (like having a track auto play and rack up points while you focus on something else), and some focus on individual notes. The power-ups add extra fun to the game, but they're not unlimited. Each song you play earns you coins, and you use the coins to pay for power-ups. Don't be confused; you don't use the coins to unlock power-ups. You spend the coins each time you want to use the power-ups, meaning that every time you play a song, you spend coins. Sometimes the coins you spend end up being more than the coins you earn, meaning that you may be stuck playing songs without power-ups just to earn enough coins to buy more power-ups.

This wouldn't necessarily be a big deal, except that Rock Band Blitz really pushes competition. You can hook the game up to Facebook and challenge your friends to beat your score. Even as you play, the game shows you how close you are to beating the score of your closest friend. If you're constantly playing just for coins, you can't maximize your score. You do get double coins for playing new songs, and the game will play any songs you have from Rock Band 3, which means you could potentially have hundreds of songs to choose from. If that's the case, you'll probably never lack for coins. But if your selection is more limited, you'll be stuck playing songs you don't like just for the coin bonus.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Rock Band Blitz is bright and shiny. Each track gets its own color and they light up as you shuffle through them. The notes are clear and easy to see. Beyond that, the game has a few little things on the sides (like cars driving alongside the music), but there's nothing much to shout about. Even if you get the big ending by maxing out all the tracks at the end of the song, it's not very impressive.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

The sound, as befits a Rock Band game, is absolutely stellar. In fact, Harmonix pulls off a neat little trick. As you flip from track to track, that particular instrument (or vocal) takes precedence in the mix. It helps sell the illusion that you're choosing your own path through the song. As always, the songs sound great, and now you can hear the intricacies even better.

Replay Factor

Chances are you won't gold star or even five star most songs on the first try, so, like all the Rock Band games, there's instant replay value in trying to top your previous scores. And since you can play all the songs from Rock Band 3 (including previous game imports and DLC), you can always grow your library.

Final Thoughts

Rock Band Blitz is, at its core, an amusing diversion. A $15 game that can use your entire existing song library (as well as adding new songs that can then be played in the main series of games) is an attractive proposition. However, the game itself lacks a certain something that previous Harmonix efforts have had. It's not a bad game, but it's not the home run we've come to expect from this developer. Might be worth getting if it goes on sale at some point.

Tech Specs:

  • Digital Download

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p

Audio Formats

  • Dolby Digital

Motion Controls

  • Yes

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