Guitar Hero: On Tour DS


Mixed or average reviews - based on 70 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 70
  2. Negative: 5 out of 70
Buy On
  1. 90
    Even though Guitar Hero: On Tour might not feel like playing guitar, it definitely feels like playing Guitar Hero: it’s an excellent portable representation of the full experience, and it’s incredibly hard to think of any way to do it better than how Vicarious Visions did it.
  2. It's simply not enjoyable to contort your hand around the DS and listen to 25 low-fi songs while you strum the touch screen and fight the pain in your hand.
  3. While the flight does get bumpy at times due to some wrist issues and limited song choices the overall experience is still intact.
  4. Even with some clever adjustments, On Tour just doesn’t feel the same.
  5. It's awesome to be able to play Guitar Hero wherever you are, the song list is nice and varied (though too short), and the gameplay is almost perfect. The only downsides are you may get some serious tendinitis in your wrist if you play for too long, and the game feels like you're playing Guitar Hero rather than an actual guitar, which is the biggest attraction for the console counterparts.
  6. You won't want to rock and roll all night with this hand-cramping game that doesn't have the right tunes to back up an inventive slate of multiplayer modes.
  7. Personally, I enjoy the idea and most of the execution, but it doesn't live up to the previous titles (except maybe Rock the 80's), and it still has a way to go before it completely impresses me.
  8. Finding a way to pump more music into the mix should have been a higher priority as well.
  9. 70
    In some ways, Guitar Hero: On Tour feels more like an experiment than a full-fledged game, as if Activision just wanted to see if it could be pulled off. Whether or not it succeeded is open to debate, as there are a number of issues that hurt the game.
  10. Even proper strumming seems to be measured inconsistently, breaking otherwise-perfect sequences and potentially losing you points or even getting you booed off if your performance dips below a certain threshold, forcing you to replay the entire song.
  11. For newbies, the controls are too unwieldy, and for veterans, though they’ll get a short burst of fret-shredding (for $49.99…), stylus scraping just doesn’t compare to a life-sized Gibson controller. With all the fumbling it takes to hold the DS comfortably, you’ll wonder why you’re playing this in public.
  12. 90
    It's perfect for quick sessions and there's enough content to keep you satisfied for a long while. If you take your DS with you everywhere you go, you definitely should put this on your shopping list.
  13. Games Master UK
    Combines two of our favourite travelling pastimes - gaming and music - to great effect. [Sept 2008, p.74]
  14. 67
    It doesn't feel like Guitar Hero. Sure, you get to press buttons in rhythm and watch an avatar bounce around the screen...but some major components are lost because of the platform. The DS certainly doesn't look or remotely feel like a guitar, and the songs -- though high quality -- just don't sound quite as awesome popping out over the system's tiny speakers.
  15. 87
    Just about the perfect interpretation of the series in handheld form. I cannot imagine a better way to do it and I would love to see them continue to expand on the idea.
  16. A curiosity to be indulged and then discarded in favor of another round of full-sized guitar heroism.
  17. To take a page from the book of elitist musicians everywhere: "Put down that toy and go play a real plastic guitar."
  18. What impressed me the most was the quality of the music. While not as pristine as you'll hear on a Dolby Digital console, the DS boasts some impressive quality, and if you pipe it through a home stereo (or a Thunderbox Amp) you can really punch up the bass and immerse yourself in the concert experience.
  19. games(TM)
    Great gameplay marred by poor ergonomics. [Oct 2008, p.116]
  20. It doesn't offer nearly the same social experience as the console version, and you will have to learn to find a comfortable, still position to play the game in, but if you can work past those initial issues, you're in for a rockin' good time.
  21. Edge Magazine
    As a novelty, this is fine and will provide the odd fun moment. But unlike its endlessly replayable older brothers, you won’t be coming back. [Sept 2008, p.90]
  22. It will take a little getting used to the Guitar Grip, and you do need to remember to take breaks. However, if you do this you will be rewarded with a fun Guitar Hero game on the go. Rock on!
  23. 60
    Technically this is Guitar Hero, but a huge piece of the puzzle is missing. Clutching your teeny tiny DS, squinting at a teeny tiny screen, and listen to tinny audio does nothing to enhance the illusion that you're a rock god.
  24. Don't be fooled by the name, this is one game that won't make you feel like a real guitar hero!
  25. With a more reliable control system Guitar Hero: On Tour would have been a perfectly playable, enjoyable game, but with its problems it feels more like a novelty. Getting the game to work on the DS is admirable and technically a solid achievement, but it doesn't make for a must-own DS title.
  26. In the end, Guitar Hero: On Tour is a blast to play with friends or alone, but it's hard to shake the feeling that any videogame not called Track and Field should be such a physical endurance challenge.
  27. AceGamez
    Save for a few minor issues, Guitar Hero: On Tour is right on target and suits the handheld format wonderfully.
  28. Pelit (Finland)
    Guitar Hero: On Tour tries its best to convert an uncovertible game. The music is good and the rhythm-based playing is fun enough, but the fails at creating the illusion of rocking out. [Sept 2008]
  29. Equally addicting as its older brothers. But not suited for long sessions as you might find yourself with a cramped wrist at the end of the day. Some nice new features and a solid tracklist, although it lacks some variation. A succesful conversion.
  30. Even if you can play through the pain, tapping a screen just isn't as much fun as rocking out with a fake plastic guitar.
  31. While Guitar Hero: On Tour is a very solid port of the franchise to the DS and the technology to get it working is brilliant - why don't more developers make use of the GBA cartridge port for DS games?
  32. Nintendo Power
    That's why Guitar Hero: On Tour is so exciting--it's Guitar Hero on the go, played a bit differently, with more emphasis on picking than fretwork (though there's still plenty of that). [Sept 2008, p.87]
  33. This game is ultimately an interesting experiment that can be a lot of fun in short bursts, so in that respect, it actually works on the DS. I would recommend it for casual fans of the series and younger players who may be less demanding.
  34. 85
    Guitar Hero on the DS is an ambitious idea which could’ve easily failed but here we are with those ambitions fulfilled. Rock on, Vicarious Visions; let’s hear an encore soon.
  35. If the peripheral wasn’t plagued with pestering annoyances and the ability to induce cramp after half an hours play, this may have been more of a success. With a lack of original or even quality track listing, this game begins to wear thin after only one play through.
  36. 70
    Guitar Hero: On Tour is a heck of a surprise, it works rather well on the Nintendo DS and while the console versions are undoubtedly better, those who prefer portable gaming are getting a solid alternative with On Tour.
  37. The implementation of the system and peripheral is inventive, but its somewhat lackluster set list and poor audio quality strike at the core of the experience. Still, if you’re the person that imported Ouendan (when-dan) from Japan or just can’t get enough of the series, hop on the tour bus.
  38. 60
    Complaints notwithstanding, Guitar Hero: On Tour is a successful first experiment that delivers a slice of the console experience on the go, and Activision and Vicarious Visions deserve props for making such a cool portable music game.
  39. As a solo game, Guitar Hero On Tour is a worthy addition to the series.
  40. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    This feels more like Guitar Hero Lite than a proper instalment in the classic rhythm action series. [Sept 2008, p.78]
  41. Nintendo Gamer
    The grip makes it feel like more of a silly Guitar Hero toy than a hardcore contender, but hand cramps aside, this is a thoughtful adaptation for DS. [Oct 2008, p.63]
  42. So, On Tour is not the best game and the series and does little to progress the franchise, but Guitar Hero fans now have a decent distraction while away from home.
  43. It's not quite as well-rounded as its home console older brothers, there's certainly room for improvement, but it's a solid enough start...bring on Guitar Hero: Decades.
  44. Of course, you can’t match the exact same rock n’ roll experience of holding a guitar in your hands but it comes very close. So remember: find a comfortable way to hold the DS and grip before playing and rock the hell out of it.
  45. It's not the most comfortable way to play, but it is very effective way to jam with.
  46. This is no cut-down, dumbed-down version of its full sized counterparts. Guitar Hero: On Tour goes to great lengths to prove you can make beautiful music - and a real ass of yourself - absolutely anywhere.
  47. So Guitar Hero On Tour manages to be more than a pimping out of the series and more than just a dumbed-down version of its console cousins.
  48. Guitar Hero: On Tour is the first time that the franchise has made it to the Nintendo DS and overall it does so with a big splash.
  49. A brave but ultimately over-ambitious waste.
  50. Guitar Hero: On Tour is more than Activision trying to cash in on the success of the now legendary gaming franchise; it's a solid product that can stand on its own.
  51. But the whole point is bringing the guitar playing ideal to a portable system. This has definitely been accomplished with the fret board and guitar pick stylus, but the absence of crucial game options really bring the overall package of this game down.
  52. On Tour is sort of a mixed bag. On one hand, hey, portable Guitar Hero. But does it really need to be portable at all? The peripheral comes with a bevy of problems that can affect gameplay and enjoyment, and that’s the center of the entire gaming experience.
  53. 80
    Guitar Hero has been a smash hit on the consoles, and while many people scoffed at the idea of a DS version, Activision has proven that the series can thrive in a portable setting.
  54. Guitar Hero: On Tour does a great job of bringing the Guitar Hero experience to the Nintendo DS.
  55. 45
    It's horribly awkward to play, causes genuine pain after a while and thanks to the limitations of the DS cartridge has horrible sound quality. If you can get past important issues like those then the game itself is nice enough, but that's a very big if.
  56. Still, it's an ingenious piece of technology that means addicts never have to leave Guitar Hero at home.
  57. But despite these major differences, On Tour stands tall on its own as a fantastic portable music game.
  58. Outside of the lack of songs, I had one major issue with Guitar Hero On Tour: portability. I tend to buy handheld games to play on train rides, or while flying. The combination of the cumbersome Guitar Grip, the non-ergonomic angle at which you hold the DS, and gameplay interface make this a game I was actually embarrassed to play in public. And if a handheld game can only be played at home, what’s the point?
  59. A weak song selection and poor audio quality make On Tour a good travel-friendly game, but not a standalone franchise maker.
  60. Not perfect, but great entertainment on the go.
  61. 30
    For people with DSs, there are at least ten better rhythm games on the system, and for Guitar Hero fans, this is nothing but pointless.
  62. Very solid and well put together, though an odd choice for a handheld. Recommended for big GH fans and casual gamers.
  63. On Tour is destined to be praised by some fans, but mocked by others.
  64. If you're under 14, or some unfortunate pituitary disorder has rendered your hands miniscule, you can't really go wrong with Guitar Hero: On Tour. Just make sure that when you're touring, it's somewhere devoid of other people and their pitiless, judging eyes.
  65. Guitar Hero On Tour is a good conversion of the console facemelter, but will not become your main source for rocking out. Best saved for when your travelling/on holiday and just can’t go without a Guitar Hero fix.
  66. Maxi Consolas (Portugal)
    The experience is not as fun as with plastic guitars. But it’s a well thought game to take advantage of the DS, with the help of the Guitar Grip. It’s a shame that the limitations of the console itself became an obstacle to the fun factor, making you struggle with the size of the console and the cramps on your hand. [Aug 2008]
  67. 65
    It's got so much potential that, when you kick into hard mode and start noticing the touch screen's inaccuracy, the awkward hand contortions needed or the ill-conceived Duel Mode controls, you'll shake your head and wonder where everything went awry.
  68. Beyond that annoying [grip] inconvenience, On Tour is a surprisingly decent package - however it has to be said that the sound quality from the DS speakers is a bit weak (it gets better with headphones, though), and to complete Expert Mode you need to be Slash crossbred with Jesus.
  69. n-Revolution Magazine UK
    Kudos to Vicarious Visions for trying. [Issue#25, p.70]
  70. 45
    Shrinking Guitar Hero onto the handheld DS system is an impressive achievement but doesn’t make for a particularly compelling game.

Awards & Rankings

#13 Most Discussed DS Game of 2008
#46 Most Shared DS Game of 2008
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. Mar 2, 2017
    For a portable version of Guitar Hero, is really well done. The Guitar Grip is really comfortable, the gameplay is really funny and the songFor a portable version of Guitar Hero, is really well done. The Guitar Grip is really comfortable, the gameplay is really funny and the song list is acceptable. Full Review »
  2. GeoffT.
    Aug 10, 2008
    This would be a top tier title if not for a few missing elements. At the top of the list is the inconsistent strumming, in a game requiringThis would be a top tier title if not for a few missing elements. At the top of the list is the inconsistent strumming, in a game requiring guitar hero level precision, anything that doesn't work 100% of the time is completely inexcusable. The selection of tracks is also for the most part terrible. there are maybe seven out of the 25 that could be called excellent, and at least 12 are absolutely awful tracks that completely ruin the experience. The biggest problem, however, is that Vicarious visions are even worse at designing tracks than neversoft, which renders even the best tracks completely boring to play. this is not worth a purchase. Full Review »
  3. AlexanderOwen
    Aug 10, 2008
    I don't like rock musi and only like a few of the songs, but this game is one og the best games i have ever played on. I do notI don't like rock musi and only like a few of the songs, but this game is one og the best games i have ever played on. I do not understand how low the critic reviews are but this game is a must have, and I would highy recommend this game to all ds game buyers. Full Review »