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Air Guitar Warrior: Gamepad Edition Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . As a motion game, Air Guitar Warrior had you moving around and strumming like the pros. Sadly, none of that fun translates to a standard gamepad. What we have here is a game that is far too easy and repetitive to the point of being boring. The bosses are cool and I love how crazy the visuals get, but the style just isn't enough to keep me entertained. Instead of just messing around with gimmicks, I would love to see this developer make a more straight-forward shoot-em-up that uses the cheesy rock and roll visuals and killer soundtrack. Now that's a game I would play. Rating: 57%
Air Guitar Warrior: Gamepad Edition
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Air Guitar Warrior: Gamepad Edition Air Guitar Warrior: Gamepad Edition Air Guitar Warrior: Gamepad Edition Air Guitar Warrior: Gamepad Edition
  • Review Score:

  • C+
Hey hey, my my, rock and roll can never die, but the same cannot be said about gimmicky peripherals. The Kinect is one of those products that initially started off strong, but quickly became a liability as Microsoft attempted to transition from the 360 to the Xbox One. Fast forward a few years and you don't hear much about motion controller. Actually, you don't hear anything. The Kinect wasn't mentioned even once at Microsoft's E3 press conference and neither the Xbox One S nor the Xbox One X offer a port to plug it in. And just to hammer the final nail into the coffin, Virtual Air Guitar Company has decided to re-release Air Guitar Warrior with gamepad support. I think it's safe to say that the Kinect has gone the way of the Power Pad, Activator and Super Scope.

In its original form, Air Guitar Warrior literally put you into the game and had the player making strumming motions in order to shoot down the wide variety of bad guys. Without the visual likeness and motion controls, this Gamepad Edition feels a lot more like a 2D shoot-em-up with trippy graphics and limited gameplay. This results in a game that is both surprisingly easy and painfully repetitive.


You play an air guitarist who travels through both space and time in order to fight the rock gods and impress a mysterious booming voice that only he can hear. This means jumping on everything from an asteroid to a motorcycle to a flying shark and fighting aliens, demon heads and even corn on the cob. We're talking about fifty drug-fueled stages that perfectly embody the spirit of rock and roll.

Using little more than his incredible balance and air guitar skills, our hero is able to bust out four different riffs using two buttons. You'll find that there are different attacks based on how fast you're tapping either button, and you'll need to alternate weapons as the others reload. There are a total of eight different guitars to unlock and choose from, each with their own set of slow and fast attacks. The goal in most stages is to use that air guitar to shoot down waves of enemies while standing in one place. Occasionally you'll find a mount that can fly up and down, but that's the extent of the movement in Air Guitar Warrior.

Since the developers didn't spend money on licensed music, they've decided to break the levels out into a bunch of vaguely familiar rock jams. The stages are actually pretty short, usually clocking in at around two minutes total. This gives each song just enough time to play a few riffs and leave us wanting more. The music is generally pretty good and it covers a lot of genres and eras without missing a beat.

In some ways, I actually respect what the developers have come up with. The gameplay is paper thin and it's a little on the easy side, but I love that they throw every idea at the wall without any care for continuity. I was rarely bored while playing Air Guitar Warrior, though most of that is because of the different levels and bad guys. The visuals are the best thing about this game, and I really enjoyed how it played with the inherent cheesiness of rock and roll.

Air Guitar Warrior: Gamepad Edition (Xbox One)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Unfortunately, the great style will only get you so far. As a Kinect game, Air Guitar Warrior had you swinging your arms around and interacting with the camera, which went a long way to mask the shallow mechanics and repetitive levels. But these issues are impossible to avoid when you're playing with a gamepad. Tapping the buttons faster and slower just isn't all that compelling, especially when you're standing in one place motionless for most of the game. Even the more interactive stages still feel limited when compared to pretty much every other shoot-em-up released in the last thirty years. The trippy graphics and silly enemies were pretty much the only thing holding my interest in those fifty stages.

When it comes right down to it, I'm not sure why Air Guitar Warrior: Gamepad Edition needs to be a standalone game. This seems like the kind of thing that could have been added to the existing game through a patch, giving players a choice whether to stand up and play the air guitar or sit down and use the controller. Having two different games for two Xbox One controllers doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

As a motion game, Air Guitar Warrior had you moving around and strumming like the pros. Sadly, none of that fun translates to a standard gamepad. What we have here is a game that is far too easy and repetitive to the point of being boring. The bosses are cool and I love how crazy the visuals get, but the style just isn't enough to keep me entertained. Instead of just messing around with gimmicks, I would love to see this developer make a more straight-forward shoot-em-up that uses the cheesy rock and roll visuals and killer soundtrack. Now that's a game I would play.
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