Gaming iPhone and iPad

Magic Guitar: Taking Music Games In A New Direction [iPhone]

Dave LeClair 29-12-2011

guitar gamesThe iPhone has a lot of rhythm games. Right from the outset, the Tap Tap series was seeing huge success on the device. It was the most popular application for months, and everyone was having a blast tapping his or her screen along to the beat. Even Rock Band and Guitar Hero have tried their luck on the iPhone, and found a decent level of success. The problem with these games is that they are all essentially the same. Notes fall from the top of the screen and you try to tap them at the right time. They may have different skins but in the end, it is all the same.


Smule, the company behind I Am T Pain, hopes to give rhythm games a new feel on the iPhone with a game called Magic Guitar. This game still involves tapping the screen to play notes, but it presents it differently, and it forces you to hold the phone similar to the way you would hold the neck of a guitar. It is a fresh way to play with a genre that is played out. The music game boom was huge, and the fall was even more massive. The question is; can a fresh take bring the genre back to prominence?


The first thing that is important with this game is the way you hold your iPhone. You need to hold it in your hand as if you were holding the neck of a guitar and look down at the device. This gives you a very different feel than most music games on the app store. This also makes playing the game feel more authentic.

guitar games

The notes will scroll from the side of the screen, and you need to press the play area to play the note. You have to press close to the right area in order for the note to sound right. It will still register if you play the wrong spot, but it will just sound a little off. This adds to the authentic guitar feel. Notes will appear longer and shorter depending on how long you need to hold them. Obviously, a longer note will require you to keep your fingers pressed down longer, while a shorter note will require more of a quick tap.

iphone guitar game


In addition to the length of notes, you will also encounter notes that require you to slide your finger up and down the screen, creating bend. You can also shake your iPhone to create vibrato.

Each song allows you to choose a type of guitar. You can play electric, acoustic, lead or choose the default for that particular song. You can also increase and decrease the speed of the notes, making the song easier or more difficult, depending on your skill level.


The game comes with five songs for free, and more can be purchased for various amounts of game currency called Shreds. You can also earn more shreds by completing offers within the application.

iphone guitar game


The free songs are public domain stuff such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and The Star Spangled Banner. The songs available for purchase are much more extensive and include artists such as The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Tom Petty and many others. The selection is truly impressive.


The game includes many challenges to keep things fun and fresh. As you level up, you will unlock new challenges that make you do things like get a certain amount of points overall, or earn a certain rating on a particular song.

iphone guitar game

There are also achievements to earn. These give you even more goals to shoot for while shredding away on your iPhone.


Social Integration

Guitar Magic features some great leaderboard and social features. First, you can head to the World tab from the main menu and listen to performances from other players from around the world. After hanging out in the globe for a little, I must say, some people are terrible at this game!

guitar games

You can also connect the game with Facebook and compare stats and scores with your real life friends. You can share your individual performances on Facebook and Twitter right after you finish a song. If you feel you killed a song, and you want to let your friends know, the app makes it easy for you.


This is a very cool rhythm game. It takes the tried and true method of making a music game and adds some serious new twists. If you enjoy playing music games on your iPhone, but, like me, you are sick of the same old stuff, I would check this out, because it is a lot of fun.


What did you think of Guitar Magic? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. coat stand
    December 29, 2011 at 2:11 am

    Guitar freaks would definitely love this app, but I wish they could give us more mainstream songs for free.

    • Dave LeClair
      December 29, 2011 at 9:22 pm

      That would be great, but for a free game it's hard to complain!