Power Gig: Rise of the SixString is a rhythm game developed by Seven45 Studios, a sister company of First Act which produces low-cost, entry-level musical instruments. While the game is similar to guitar-based games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Power Gig ships with a unique guitar game controller that acts as both a standalone six-stringed guitar and game controller with note-matching games. Because of the nearness of the controller and gameplay to that of a real guitar, it has attracted musicians including Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, and Kid Rock that have shied away from music games before due to the simplicity of the button-mashing concept. The game is also distributed with the AirStrike, a drum controller that works on motion sensing. The game was shipped on October 19, 2010 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The game was formally announced and demonstrated at the 2010 Game Developers Conference. Power Gig's gameplay is centered on the unique guitar controller being created for the game. The controller is an approximately 2/3 size real electric 6-string guitar. Along the edge of the fretboard are colored sections for each fret, matching the current green/red/yellow/blue/orange patterns employed by Guitar Hero and Rock Band. In the game's basic mode, the player must hold down any string(s) in the colored fret areas that match the displayed note patterns on screen and then strum the strings in time. Any other existing guitar controller can also be used in this mode. In the game's "Power Chord" mode, the colored notes on screen are replaced with colored numbers from 1 to 6, representing which string(s) must be held down in the colored fret area to make a chord, accompanied by strumming. As such, the game is able to present more realistic guitar playing. While the guitar can detect every string and fret pressed, the game play is only designed to work with basic two-note chord intervals. It is possible to use the guitar controller separately as a standalone electric guitar by removing a dampener that is placed on the strings during game play to keep them from ringing out. The guitar controller can also be used within Guitar Hero and Rock Band and other compatible games.
The game also ships with a unique drum controller, the AirStrike, that allows the player to interact with the game without contact, similar to air guitaring, making for a quieter playing experience. The crescent-shaped unit, with four sensors and a bass-drum kick pedal along with additional console control buttons, is used by placing it on the floor in front of the player. The unit senses the movements in the general areas where the sensors are located, simulating the position of drums, and is able to distinguish movement between the individual drum sticks. The unit also includes support legs to bring the sensors closer to the player to help improve movement detection. Bernard Chiu, CEO of Seven45 Studios, noted that they expected people to be skeptical of the controller, but believes the unit provides a "much more real and authentic" experience compared to other drum kits available.
The game feature a band mode based on a three-piece band: a guitarist, a drummer, and a vocalist. The game ships in bundles that include the guitar controller, drum set, and microphone, but existing drum and microphone controllers can also be used. An additional limited-edition full size wooden guitar controller was released at the same time as the game.
Similar to Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, Power Gig uses a story mode as its main gameplay mode, entitled "Unite the Clans". The story mode is centered on the world of Ohm, where music has special properties and public performances are banned by the tyrannical Headliner Martin Rothchild. Three rebel clans oppose the Headliner and his order: the RiffRiders, a loosely organized clan that just loves to jam more than anything else, the Rise, an upstart clan who bucks tradition, and the Zehn, a mysterious and transcendental clan, focused on the self as the end-all be-all power in the universe.
Each character has unique a "Mojo Power", which affects the band's score in different ways. "Mojo Power" is collected and activated in a similar manner to Guitar Hero's "Star Power" and Rock Band's "Overdrive"; however, the powers themselves are more similar to Warriors of Rock's "Quest Mode" powers.
The game features a setlist comparable in size to that of Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, and is made up of only master recordings; the company released a limited amount of downloadable content after the game's release. Seven45 Studios claims that because Power Gig is closer to playing a real guitar compared to other rhythm games (with only Rock Band 3's "Pro Mode" being more realistic), they have been able to attract artists that have otherwise shied away from the genre believing that the simplified note-matching mechanic is not equivalent to learning how to play a real instrument. The game includes music from Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews Band, and Kid Rock, who each have signed exclusive licenses with Seven45 Studios. Both Dave Matthews and Kid Rock stated they felt that Power Gig was a superior game compared to previous music games as they move past the simple button-pressing mechanic; furthermore, the game "puts a real guitar into the hands of aspiring musicians", according to Matthews.
The songs that are included in Power Gig are as follows:
^a Song is no longer available for purchase.
Power Gig: Rise of the SixString has received mostly negative reviews for various reasons. William Abner of GameShark stated that "It's a bad time to release a new music game property -- and an even worse time to release a bad one.", alluding to the instrument-based rhythm genre's waning consumer interest and sales performance in 2009.
Power Gig's peripherals had received negative reviews. Griffin McElroy of Joystiq referred to the game and its guitar controller as "a dumbfounding product...[centering] itself around a peripheral which is a real guitar, yet it doesn't allow the player to use the real guitar as if it were a real guitar. Instead, it settles for using a new toy to manipulate an old game -- but still manages to categorically fail at both." McElroy also criticized the quality of the guitar as a standalone instrument, stating "As far as the quality of [the] sound...it plays about as well as you'd expect a $180 guitar to play. Which is to say, not well at all". The AirStrike drum kit had received worse reviews, with Eric Bratcher of GamesRadar stating that the kit "simply doesn’t work", noting that the AirStrike has poor hit detection and looks nothing like a drum kit. Bratcher also states that the player has to use the "special" drumsticks supplied with the AirStrike peripheral, and the sticks had to be held in a certain way in order for the unit to function. Additionally, Bratcher notes that the AirStrike peripheral required 6 AA batteries to work.
The game's story mode and gameplay were also not well received. Abner has stated that "[even] if you grab an old instrument, you are basically just playing a cheap Guitar Hero/Rock Band knock off." While using a Rock Band or Guitar Hero guitar, Ryan Davis of Giant Bomb notes the quirk of not being able to use the guitar's tilt sensor to activate Power Gig's "Mojo Power", instead having to use the Select/Back button or the whammy bar to do so. Also, this makes it difficult to activate "Mojo Power" on a Rock Band or Guitar Hero drum kit without breaking combo, unless the player enables automatic activation in the options menu. Joe Rybicki of GamePro stated that the interface looked "ridiculously dated, presenting just a quarter of the screen for any instrument even if you're playing solo." Rybicki also noted that players may have difficulty anticipating notes with Power Gig's vertical note chart compared to the isometric note chart found in both Guitar Hero and Rock Band. However, Rybicki did praise the game for its inclusion of timing accuracy-based scoring, similar to Dance Dance Revolution, and open guitar notes, which are only available in Guitar Hero's bass tracks. Davis refers to the absence of a discrete bass guitar track as "deliberately befuddling". Jack DeVries of IGN refers to the game's story as being "laughably bad", while McElroy referred to the game's cutscenes as being of "CD-i quality". Will Johnson of Digital Chumps stated that having a story mode was more interesting, providing motivation to the game's characters; however, he did criticize the story mode's progression method, calling it needlessly complicated since players had to choose specific characters and songs to play at each venue. Mike Splechta of GameZone notes that a majority of the songs are unavailable at the start of the game, forcing the player to replay songs several times throughout the story mode. Splechta also notes that game has long load times despite outdated graphics.
The game's soundtrack received mixed reviews. Rybicki refers to the setlist as one of the game's best features, particularly for the inclusion of Eric Clapton. Bratcher also gave the soundtrack a favorable review, viewing several songs as "fairly fresh". However, DeVries calls the soundtrack "the weakest setlist ever to grace a guitar game", while Davis referred to it as being "100 percent leftovers". Splechta stated that the setlist "has some variety, and features music that wasn't yet included in other music games, but most of it feels out of place and isn't very fun to play."
Giant Bomb named the game "Worst Game of the Year" for 2010.