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Jam Sessions (DS) artwork

Jam Sessions (DS) review

"...and using Jam Sessions, you'll become a (sort of) master at playing Guitar. Jam Sessions is pretty good if your looking to play chords on the guitar with cool effects, but it doesn't really go much further than that, and you can't play melodies and individual strings. "

...and using Jam Sessions, you'll become a (sort of) master at playing Guitar. Jam Sessions is pretty good if your looking to play chords on the guitar with cool effects, but it doesn't really go much further than that, and you can't play melodies and individual strings.

In Jam sessions, you assign specific chords to either the directional pad or the face buttons, depending on which hand you hold the stylus with. This gives you a selection of eight chords, utilised by pressing down on which button (s) a chord is assigned to. If you hold down the L or R button, you can access another set of eight chords, giving you a total palette of sixteen chords to play with. However, pressing buttons isn't how you actually play the chords themselves. A single string is shown along the centre of the touch screen and you strum this string while holding down a chord button to play that chord. This is quite uncomfortable at first, as you need to hold the DS and hold down the chord buttons with one hand while the other is strumming. After a while, you'll find a comfortable position to hold the DS in while playing, so it all works out well.

The control system is pretty good, if a little aggravating, but the whole game would be useless if the synthesised guitar sounds weren't top quality. Luckily, the acoustic guitar chords sound very realistic, and you also have the ability to access a menu which alters all the sound effects, from tremelo, to distortion. You can save all your specific settings to a button, so when you press it, those effects will take place. This is a nifty addition and compliments the package so far.

Ubisoft also managed to find time to integrate a few popular songs for you to play the chords and sing along. The chord palettes are pre-set when playing songs so that only the chords you need will be shown. The words are shown along the top screen as well as directions on when you play the next chord. Actual strums are left up to you, but you can choose to show more details on the top screen if you wish, like when exactly to strum in which direction. Songs include 'You know I'm no good' by Amy Winehouse, 'I will follow you into the dark' by Death Cab for Cutie, and 'Over my Head' by the Fray. It's a pity they didn't include a couple more classic songs to appeal to more DS owners. One thing it's a good idea to note though, is that the songs are little more than lyrics on the screen and some chord directions. The rest is up to you.

Finally, I'll give a brief mention to the general visual style of Jam Sessions, although it's not that important to a 'game' of this genre. It's a bright, simple style, and many items of the interface are customisable. You can change the graphic shown when you strum a chord, and the background too. There are over fifty backgrounds to choose from, so you should easily find something that suits you.

Overall, Jam Sessions is quite a good guitar tool. It comes nowhere near a real guitar in comparison and it's absolutely nothing like Guitar Hero in any way, but it's a good little program nonetheless. It may be a little confusing to anyone that has no clue about anything to do with music, but if you do, then this is right up your street.

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Community review by bodo_parkour (December 08, 2007)

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