By the Way, Free to Play: Band Stars

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Ever play a Kairosoft game such as Game Dev Story or Mega Mall Story? Or any sort of management-type game where you take control of an establishment and manage its products and personnel? Well, there’s a new kid on the block in the form of a free-to-play browser game called Band Stars, developed by Adelaide-based studio Six Foot Kid. If you’ve never heard of them, chances are you’ve heard of their publishing partner Halfbrick, creators of hit mobile games Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride.

Band Stars puts the player in the position of managing a studio band by hiring musicians and getting them to create the next hit song. Players will choose a specific genre to write a song for, then pair it with a topic that suits a successful debut. As more hits are created and the band’s performance increases, new genres and topics will unlock allowing the band’s repertoire to grow.

When recording, specific musical roles can be placed among band members; the responsibility to write lyrics, play the bass, handle the keyboard and more can be shared among all members to gain more experience. Or if people would prefer the musicians remain where their strengths lie, that’s fine too. Further training can be made outside of the recording process by clicking and selecting “Training,” which then allows the player to spend cash towards increasing the chosen musician’s skills. However doing so, as well as letting musicians jam to earn inspirado or recording sequential songs, will affect the character’s energy. To fix this a balance between resting and recording/jamming must be upheld, which is where the management comes in.

To rest up band members can either sleep, soak up in a spa bath or even play an upright arcade version of Monster Dash to kick back between sessions. As the game goes on and the band earns more success, coins are collected and then used to purchase more instruments, furniture, or other luxuries to maintain the band’s work ambiance. Depending on the performance ability of each musician, inspirado is earned and used to create solos which will then make songs more successful. As band members’ performance begins to wane, they can then also consume energy drinks to give them a boost and continue working. However, these are quite limited, which is where the usual “free to play” model twist comes in.

If players are enjoying the experience and feel the need to enhance their playing ability or don’t want to wait around to collect more energy drinks or grind to earn inspirado, the option to contribute real-life cash can help. For example, $0.99 will nab you 10 energy drinks, whereas up to $8.99 can get 5000. Similarly, for $3.99 players can purchase the “Counterfeit Machine,” which doubles the amount of money earned for hits. Other items that only be purchased with cash are “The Basement,” which is where musicians can go and hang out if firing them is an undesired option; “The Inspirator,” which generates double the amount of inspirado; “Recording Speed x2,” which does as the name suggests; plus more.

Google+ members can even play Band Stars via the social network and interact with friends. The game also features an achievement system to meet specific goals, which can then be posted into Google+ to show off to friends.

Currently Band Stars is still in beta, meaning the developers are likely to be adding more features and bug fixes as the game goes on. However, the game runs well and has a visual design that’s both charming and inviting. For anyone looking to get into a small, yet addictive browser game, give Band Stars a try. Chances are you’ll be very pleased.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJJeF026z-8

Will you be jumping in on this free to play gem? Got any others you’d like to suggest for our next feature? Let us know below or discuss it over in our forum!

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