I want to be able to play guitar before I die. Of course, I also want to play the harmonica, piano, get a great voice and learn C++, amongst other things.
So, for the time being, I guess I’ll have to settle for digital jamming.
Guitar Hero and Rock Band are great, but also very pricey – even more so than most games because of the controllers.
Luckily there are plenty of free alternatives. In the past, we already discussed Frets On Fire and several other rythmic flash games to groove up your day, and today we have yet another great “guitar game” on presentation.
Reader, meet JamLegend. Meet, and fall in love with it.
JamLegend is an online rythm game, perfect for jamming away in a browser of your choice. You can try to top your own scores, ascend in level and unlock features, or face other players from all over the world.
Many of you – especially those from the scene – might already know JamLegend. It’s already been around quite long in closed Beta, and opened up to the public some time ago.
Play Songs, Duels or Showdowns
There are three main game modes that ought to be taken into consideration.
First, and the most obvious one, is playing by song. Browse the immensive list of available songs by title or artist and rock out! You’ll be facing one of the site’s bots to increase the competition. Practice your playing, and work yourself up in the highscores.
When you’ve set a decent highscore, you can challenge one of your friends for a duel. This will simply give them a chance to better your score. It’s not exactly a face-to-face duel, but it provides an easy check to see who’s the better one of you, and also avoids any possible schedule conflicts.
If you however prefer the more… social approach, and really crave that face-to-face aspect of duelling, you can clench your thirst with a showdown.
Showdown mode isn’t limited to friends, so you can jam with anyone on the site. The quickest and easiest way to start a showdown is through an Auto Match, which puts you in a random room with random people. You can also browse the available rooms or create your own if you’ve got a more specific aim in the game.
Tapping or Strumming
There are two different ways to play, tapping or strumming. Which one you uses depends mainly on your own preference. Note that you can’t choose between these in every game, when playing a show-off a mode is default for everyone in the room.
Most people find BEATjam the most easy way to play. Similar to Dance Dance Revolution, you simple tap the right key at the right moment.
People aiming for a Guitar Hero experience, on the other hand, might prefer Guitar Jam. Here you must hold the keys, and strum with the Enter key at the right moment.
If you are to avoid an aching hand or arm, you might also want to change the default key setup. The key configuration for both Regular and Left Hand Flip Mode can be easily altered in the options.
Play at Your Level
You can choose between several game difficulties, depending on your skill.
Available are Normal, Skilled, Insane and Legendary. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Note that most people are very able in the difficulty they’re playing, with high hitrates. Just because you’re able to ‘survive’ at a certain difficulty doesn’t mean you’re ready for a showdown.
By playing, you gain experience points, even more so the better you play. By collecting these points, you’ll be able to advance in level, and prove yourself in the JamLegend hierarchy.
By completing certain objectives, you can also unlock groupies (no, these do not represent real people). The can be simple tasks, like reaching a certain note streak, to more devious tasks, like playing a thousand songs. Obviously, the harder unlocking the achievement is, the more groupies you’ll earn with it.
Similar to the levelling system, achievement scoring is a way to prove your place amongst the other players.
So, what’s your take on JamLegend? What highscore did you reach that you think nobody will be able to break? Spit it all out in the comments section below.