For those that wish to rock, we have a game for you. Battle Bands is a card-based mash-up of genres, taking elements of deckbuilders, roguelikes, and battle royales, and wrapping it all up in a rock & roll package, presented in a loveable hand-drawn, late night cartoon-inspired art style. Through passion and ingenuity, developer Aerie Digital has created something truly special in this indie gem that will test your mettle and rock your socks off in equal measure.
Set in the fantastical setting of Riff City, Battle Bands allows players to create their own unique rocker and assemble a band together with other players (or bots) to embark on an epic musical adventure. Once you’ve customised your unique rocker with different hairstyles, outfits, and of course, instruments, there are two unique modes to explore, starting with the campaign – Tour Mode.
As the name suggests, Tour Mode sees your band hit the road, playing venues around Riff City as you gain gear, fans, cash, and notoriety. There are no easy gigs in Riff City, and every show will have you facing off against another band in a fierce battle for musical superiority.
Build up your decks from over 300 unique cards, representing actions like ‘Speed Riff’, ‘Power Chord’, or ‘Jazzy Motif’ and build up ‘Hype’ points throughout your performance. Types of cards will vary based on your instrument of choice, and you can pick from guitar, bass, drums, or keyboard. Once you reach the Hype goal, you’ll win the match – as long as your opponent doesn’t use their final turn to catch up!
It’s not as simple as just nailing your own performance, though. You’ll also need to take down your opponents. To this end, utilise cards like ‘Hurl Insults’, which will damage the other team’s hype, allowing you to catch up or race ahead of them. Naturally, the more you play, the tougher the rival bands will become. And then there are the bosses, formidable adversaries that will test every bit of your musical mettle. To best these enemies, you’ll need to synchronise with your bandmates to build up an untouchable level of hype. Experiment with lots of different card types and combinations to perfect your sound.
The roguelike-inspired format of the campaign means that there is almost endless replayability on offer here. While you might not reach the final boss on your first few attempts, the more you play, the more you’ll learn your way around Riff City. By learning to hammer out guitar riffs, nail sick basslines, or create cool drum fills, you’ll eventually master the challenging campaign of Battle Bands, all the while customising your deck with ever more exciting and diverse musically themed cards.
Once you’ve got to grips with the basics in Tour Mode, why not try to become the best of the best in Royale Mode? This epic battle royale pits your quartet against 63 other bands in a fierce fight to the death. Well, not quite to the death – unless of course, you form a death metal band! This mode will push your teamwork and creativity to the limits as you strive to achieve legendary status. Royale Mode matches will last between 45 and 60 minutes, so grab some snacks, make sure your comms are in order, and get ready to rock!
Battle Bands utilises a seasonal format, allowing you to earn new cosmetics to customise your rocker the more you play. Season 1, titled Opening Act, has a ton of rad unlockables including audacious headgear, swish hairstyles, and of course, plenty of flashy and unique instrument skins. You can also earn credits to put towards whatever items you fancy in the in-game store. The store will update regularly with Daily and Weekly items, so you’ll always have something to work towards.
If this sounds like the game for you, then we have good news! You won’t have to wait long to get your hands on Battle Bands. The game will launch in Early Access on March 17, with many more updates to come as the development process progresses. Aerie Digital is keen to work with fans to improve the game as much as possible, with a plan to launch the game in full in six to 12 months. During this time, the developer plans to add loads more content for character and van customisation, as well as a new season pass with in-game rewards.
During the Early Access period Aerie Digital is inviting players to join the official Battle Bands Discord community, not only to enjoy the game with other fans, but also to offer feedback and suggestions for the future of the game. For more information and to pick up the game when it launches, head to its Steam page.