Rise to dizzying heights of fame as you manage an up-and-coming musical act in Band Stars for iOS.
Fascinated by the music industry but apprehensive about the rockstar lifestyle? Rather than being the rock star, Band Stars offers up the opportunity to manage an up-and-coming band. You write/produce songs, recruit band members, accumulate fans, trick out your recording studio, and ultimately become famous.
Each of the characters in Band Stars seemed to be based on a musical stereotype: there's a robotic electronic DJ that appears to be based off of Daft Punk, an Icelandic folk/experimental singer that's an obvious nod to Björk, and an old, bearded rocker that looks like he could have been a roadie for Metallica. Unfortunately, one of these characters crosses the line from parody to offensive and racist.
One character is a black woman named "Goldy $ilver" whose personal quote reads as "My ideal man is Benjamin Franklin. On paper." Although it may have been in the spirit of comedy, it's in incredibly poor taste and likely to offend many, especially at a time when these sorts of perpetuated stereotypes in music are attracting a lot of media attention.
How to play
Compared to most freemium tapping-based games, Band Stars actually requires some strategy. Most of Band Stars revolves around recording songs and training your band. Your band members' skills are divided into five different categories: lyrics, creativity, melody, rhythm, and polish.
Most of Band Stars is based around your money and your band's energy. The rockstar lifestyle catches up to band members, and they’ll need breaks to rest. This is done by either not playing or putting them into a hot tub to relax. Energy can also be recharged in Band Stars by having one of the band members chug an energy drink. You earn money by collecting royalties from your previous tracks. Climbing the charts is a mechanical process that correlates to your band's musical talents.
It’s important to play to each of the band member’s strengths by having them play the correct instruments. While recording a song, you have the option to have one of the bandmates perform a solo, which amounts to tapping on the screen to keep the audio levels at a certain point. Solos in Band Stars cost guitar picks, which are earned by band members playing (while recording or practicing) instruments.
The sound of music
The graphics for Band Stars are decent, but not spectacular. The game is colorful and each character model sports a disproportionately large head. The animations are a bit herky-jerky as each of the bandmates performs, but this isn’t a glaring problem. Band Stars has excellent sound with samples of the different musical genres being played while writing and performing. However it would be nice to see this part of the game expanded a bit, possibly by adding the option to import music.