Jam Sessions DS Preview - 07/09/2007

So far in the DS’s life there has been a large variety of games on offer. Titles like Brain Training and Nintendogs tried to make the DS less like a games console, and more like a part of people’s lifestyles. Jam Sessions tries to go even further, and turn the DS into a musical instrument.

‘Jam sessions’ is more of a tool than a game. There are no goals to achieve, or points to earn, it’s just playing guitar. The player uses the stylus to strum onto the touch screen, and controls the note on the D-Pad. In terms of gameplay, that’s about it. At the moment that’s the only way of controlling the game, but it seems like it will work. You can also play around 20 licensed tracks by artists ranging from Amy Winehouse to Nirvana. These are included in the Challenge mode, which judges you on your musical performance. Playing in this mode will unlock special features like backgrounds and upgraded strings.

The game also features a Free Play mode, where players can play guitar to their hearts content. These creations can be saved in one of 5 slots available to the player. There is also a Tutorial mod where the game teaches the player how to play the game, which will help new guitar players.

The game is not trying to be a replacement for a guitar, but it’s on its way to being. You can plug your DS into an amp to produce a better sound, and one that the DS’s small speakers would find hard to handle. This feature, along with the ability to use the DS microphone to record vocals makes this game seem like a whole new beast. One that has never really been pulled off before. The game aches for the player to be creative, but with only 5 slots to save songs into, long time players may not want to delete their ‘classics’.

For a game to be successful on the DS it needs to be different to all of its competitors. Jam Sessions is full of originality, even if games like this are huge in Japan. The ability to create songs, and save them to the DS is great, although a bit more memory would have been nice. Also it would be great if a few friends could get together and ‘make sweet music’ together, wirelessly, but sadly the creators are missing out on this great opportunity.

Even so, the game looks interesting and we can’t wait to play it. The game is currently set for a UK release of September 27th, stick to TGSN.co.uk for a review nearer the time.

- Sam Atkins