Jam Band (PC)

Developed by: Cloud 9 Games
Multiplayer: Up to 6 players
Release Date: August 2009
Pros: Support for any USB mic, great song list
Cons: Only 2 people can play instruments at a time

System Requirements
Windows® 7/Vista/XP
1.4 GHz CPU - 1 Player / 3.0GHz CPU - 2-6 Players
800 MB free disk space
64 MB DirectX 9 video card
DirectSound 9 sound card
Speakers (subwoofer recommended)
USB microphone and game controllers recommended

Cloud 9 Games has been making Christian music games for quite some time. Their Heavenly Harmony series is quite fun and the Heavenly Harmony Gold users can get a taste of this game with the free Jam Pack expansion that allows popular guitars and drums to be plugged in and played. The note interface is pretty similar to Guitar Hero with the bubble like notes coming your way. Drummers will have to learn to use the orange button to hit the foot pedal instead of a line bar like the secular counter parts.

I was pleasantly surprised to see support for any USB or 3.5mm microphone instead of being forced to use the proprietary ones from Heavenly Harmony. Even my webcam microphone worked! JamBand supports guitars, drums, and mics from Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Guitar Praise by Digital Praise. If you don\'t have an instrument, you can use your keyboard instead.

Setting up the instruments is painless as long as you read the directions carefully. If you\'re like me and click through the buttons you\'ll get nowhere fast. Be sure to read the text carefully and make sure you click on the text to proceed and not the button on the bottom. The game interface is the same as Heavenly Harmony and offers the same voice tuning games as well. Honestly, I prefer the Guitar Hero and Rock Band interfaces over JamBand. The JamBand interface gets crowded with two instruments and maybe that\'s why there isn\'t support for three or more instruments.

The notes themselves are thought out really nicely are are fun to play. They match well with the songs as long as you play them right. When playing on hard, the timing window is very slim and more challenging in my opinion than Guitar Hero or Rock Band. When you\'re off, the mistake sound is obnoxious and really discourages you from letting it happen again. I like how the scoring system rewards you when playing well but subtracts from your score when you mess up.

The song list consists of forty songs and some of them are repeats from previous games. The artist selection is great and some of my favorite Christian bands are represented here. When choosing a song to play you can view all or view by genre. There\'s promise of expansion packs in the future.

All About Love - Steven Curtis Chapman
All In - Tobymac
Alone - Sanctus Real
Beautiful Name - ZOEgirl
Blessed Be Your Name - Newsboys/Rebecca St. James
Big House - Audio Adrenaline
Casting Off - This Beautiful Republic
Clap Your Hands - Audio Adrenaline
Closer - Sanctus Real
Don’t Give Up - Sanctus Real
Everything About You - Sanctus Real
Everything Glorious - The David Crowder Band
Fingerprints of God - Steven Curtis Chapman
Forever and ever - The David Crowder Band
For My Love - Bethany Dillon
Friends - Jump 5
Get Down - Audio Adrenaline
God - Rebecca St. James
God Is In Control - Avalon
Going Under - This Beautiful Republic
Gone - Tobymac
Goodbye - Audio Adrenaline
Hands and Feet - Audio Adrenaline
Holy Is The Lord - Chris Tomlin
In The Light - dcTalk
Ocean Floor - Audio Adrenaline
Safe - ZOEgirl
Scream - ZOEgirl
Solid As The Rock - Avalon
Song of Hope - Robbie Seay Band
Take You At Your Word - Avalon
Thank You - Sanctus Real
The Face of Love - Sanctus Real
The Fight Song - Sanctus Real
The Surface - This Beautiful Republic
Undefeated - Audio Adrenaline
Whatever You’re Doing - Sanctus Real
Wise Up - Amy Grant
Wonderful - Jump5
You Get Me - ZOEgirl

Graphically this game has made some improvements since Heavenly Harmony.  The same 3D venues are available and they have more lighting.  A couple new venues have been added. (Winter wonderland, Tropical Paradise) Each band member will be on stage and yo can customize their appearance and clothing. The band members have some new clothes they can wear including shirts with the JamBand logo or with the slogan Jesus Rocks.
The music sounds good but the instruments can be a little over powering at times. You can adjust the volume of the instruments in the options so that issue is easily resolved. As long as you play well, the songs sound great.

There are no appropriateness issues whatsoever unless you don\'t like Christian rock. The song selection honors God and sounds great at the same time. Who can complain about that?

JamBand is a good game to consider even if you already own Heavenly Harmony Gold with the Jam Pack. The song selection itself is great, not to mention the support for Guitar, Bass and Drum players to join your Christian Rock Band.  The new support for any microphone is great and there are some good songs along with some repeats. JamBand is more open ended with it\'s support for instruments whereas JamPack has pre-configured settings for Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Guitar Praise guitars. I\'m not sure if it supports the new Guitar Hero drums. JamBand is still more geared for singers than instrument players. The two instrument limitation is a big drawback, but to support more, the interface would require a major overhaul. With that said, JamBand is still a nice offering for aspiring Christian rockers. With the open instrument support and future expansion packs it\'s sure to bring endless entertainment.

Game Play 14/20
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 8/10
Stability: 5/5
Interface: 3/5

Game Score: 37/50
Appropriateness: 50/50

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Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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