Generally favorable reviews - based on 50 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 50
  2. Negative: 0 out of 50
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  1. Play UK
    There are few better rhythm-action games on the handheld. [Issue#181, p.81]
  2. Pelit (Finland)
    Rock Band Unplugged proves that music games can work surprisingly well on handheld consoles, too. The Amplitude-like gameplay works great and the song selection is good. A game worthy of the Rock Band name.
  3. GamePro
    But as a rhythm game, Unplugged is a wonderful portable title. [July 2009, p.84]
  4. 90
    Buy this game if you want a challenging title that will eat up long journeys or quiet evenings in darkened room; it’s a great take on the franchise and it’s made for us, for the fans.
  5. Not a bad little version of Rock Band considering the fact that it doesn't come with anything resembling a fake instrument.
  6. Rock Band Unplugged is a great addition to the Rock Band series, offering a refreshing rhythm game mechanic that feels very comfortable on the PSP. Even though the game lacks multiplayer, the DLC feature should help give this game some legs in the future.
  7. 85
    There are few things to object to this Rock Band Unplugged. This portable version respects the gameplay of its elder brothers, but adding a new gameplay approach that we consider a hands down achievement.
  8. Rock Band Unplugged is a top title worth picking up, the only problem lies if you own Rock Band on another console as it does feel quite similar both in the tracks available and the gameplay in general.
  9. 85
    You may feel less like a rock star and more like a traditional gamer while you play but it's great fun and a million times better than being laughed at on the bus while strumming your DS.
  10. Games Master UK
    It's entertaining without the need for plastic peripherals, but it's still challenging for experts. [Aug 2009, p.77]
  11. The excellent control system won't make you regret the loss of plastic instruments and the good, but not original, playlist will enjoy you for hours. A must have.
  12. 85
    Rock Band Unplugged is a fantastic portable representation of the series, and is worth picking up for any music game fan.
  13. Though playing individual instruments may not be quite as challenging, the overall level of difficulty can be even more trying. Thankfully, for the rhythmically-challenged and casual players, four levels of difficulty mean you will be able to gradually improve your skill set and still jam on to great tunes.
  14. PSM3 Magazine UK
    Not as great as holding the peripherals, but this is a satisfying PSP alternative. [Aug 2009, p.68]
  15. Don't let the duplicate songs fool you, Rock Band Unplugged is one of the best music games ever made for a portable game system!
  16. Enjoyable for any level of Rock Band player, but lacking in staying power.
  17. There’s no question that Rock Band is better with instruments, but on the handheld, given that the primary comparison is Guitar Hero: On Tour which comes with the multi-colored, pro-arthritis death vice, I’m glad there aren’t any here.
  18. 82
    Yes, the gameplay is amazing and a ton of fun, but this is well-worn territory of fans for the franchise. If playing World Tour gigs and hitting up Band Survival Mode every now and again is good enough for you -- and it is for me -- great. However, without any multiplayer you lose the true incentive to download new music and to keep this game forever and ever.
  19. 81
    The World Tour Mode and Band Survival offer more than enough challenge for the music fanatic on-the-go and the track listing is great granted you don't mind a lot of repeat tracks. Lack of multi-player is this game's biggest downfall, and one that will ultimately decide it's fate in the months to come.
  20. Within Unplugged's clever title lies an unmistakable truth: it really is Rock Band without the instruments. But though it succeeds at capturing the series' core gameplay, the experience is largely a lonely one, something that runs counter to the jam session vibe established by its predecessors.
  21. Rock Band Unplugged has managed to translate the home console experience into a “live” portable performance, adapting its control system to the PSP quite effectively. The tracklist is no lame either, with several nice songs included in the UMD and many more available for download from the PlayStation Network.
  22. Rock Band Unplugged does a great job of bringing the Rock Band experience to the PSP in a format that fits the portable experience very well compared to other portable ports of console music games.
  23. Rock Band Unplugged accomplishes the task of being a good spiritual successor to the games that made Harmonix famous. The game mechanics are inventive yet solid, while the controls and sound are as tight as you can expect it to be.
  24. Throw in such music game warhorses as Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and you’ve got a soundtrack that – with some notable exceptions – feels a bit stale. It’s a shame, too, because the gameplay is strong enough to make this much more than just a solid handheld music title.
  25. Smart design choices make this handheld debut for the Rock Band series a great one.
  26. A lovely-looking, unique and tightly designed rhythm-action game built of equal parts FreQuency and Rock Band. The track selection's good, it's far from a lazy port, and its similarity to Harmonix games past makes playing it an unexpectedly nostalgic pleasure.
  27. Even with downloadable content, it’s hard to compete with the staying power of the console versions, mainly because it removes a group from the equation. But as a casual pick-up and play, on-the-go music experience, Rock Band Unplugged certainly delivers a fun experience, certainly worthy of a look.
  28. If you're looking to enjoy with a fun game, this is your choice. Harmonix has done a very good job an recreating the feeling of the original Rock Band into this PSP version. We've like 40 songs, with hundreds of different combinations for players to change the way they play.
  29. Rock Band: Unplugged’s heart is genuine and soulful, evidence perhaps that, in game-making as much as music-making, it pays to never forget one’s roots.
  30. Unplugged manages to bring the band experience to the PSP in a way that works for the system and is highly addictive to boot. The lack of multiplayer is disappointing and we'd have preferred a few more tracks, but for finger tapping fun on the move this comes highly recommended.
  31. Rock Band is definitely a game that fans of music games can’t ignore and well worth going on the road with.
  32. For anyone wanting a portable Rock Band, this might be a bit abstract, but it mostly ticks all the right boxes.
  33. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Out of classic series Unplugged brings a full-scale song list that focuses on a single player experience. Yes, we really miss the multiplayer. [July 2009]
  34. AceGamez
    Rock Band Unplugged is very different from its full grown console brethren, but still a highly engaging portable game in its own right.
  35. games(TM)
    Rock Band Unplugged excels at demonstrating how the tight connection of input and music can provide strong gameplay without the need for a plastic guitar or snap-on peripheral. [Aug 2009, p.121]
  36. 80
    Unplugged offers plenty of fun and fast gameplay that'll test your finger dexterity each and every time without worrying about peripherals that you have to port around.
  37. Looking at Rock Band Unplugged as a music game, it is absolutely incredible. Looking at it as a Rock Band title, it feels like it could have been so much more. You will certainly get a lot of joy and challenge playing through the game on your own, but when you will be craving some interaction with friends, you will return to the console versions.
  38. A good rhythm game that definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s fun and addictive, with plenty of venues, and though I would have liked to see less repetition in the tracklist, I still found myself saying “Just one more song” repeatedly.
  39. If you don't mind playing a game with only your fingers, I suppose you could give Rock Band Unplugged a chance. But for a game with minimal downloadable content, no multiplayer, a playlist and World Tour experience that is largely identical to the console games, and little to no innovation...$40 is not quite the ticket I'd be willing to pay.
  40. As a way of taking the four player Rock Band experience and distilling it down into a portable, instrument-free experience, the game excels, it's just that I don't want my Rock Band experience to be instrument free.
  41. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    Vague disappointments aside, Rock Band Unplugged offers a clever portable twist on the music game formula that is mostly engrossing and fun...even if it can be damned frustrating. [July 2009, p.84]
  42. Rock Band Unplugged brings the gameplay we know and love from the consoles to the PSP. The control feels very natural on the portable system and the soundtrack is impressive. However, Unplugged doesn't offer many new songs and the lack of multiplayer is a missed opportunity.
  43. A new appointment with the fantastic tour Rock Band has to offer. Good job Harmonix.
  44. The portable version of Rock Band utilizes some great ideas and is both addictive and fun to play. It's a shame that the game lacks multiplayer functionality. But it's still worth your money, and a great addition to the rather limited offerings on the PSP.
  45. As a translation of a peripheral based game to a button based portable game this is without a doubt a great experience. The concept of playing different instruments in sections to clear the tracks actually works really well and the formula in the stationary Rock Band games has been well translated to the portable format. If you're looking for a portable rhythm based music game on the PSP this is definitely a recommended purchase. There are some stains on the canvas though: only 41 tracks, no multiplayer and no interoperability with the PS3.
  46. 67
    Unplugged's gameplay and high-fidelity music fits the PSP almost perfectly, but for all the big features that are mysteriously missing, the developers didn't pay enough attention to the small details, either.
  47. An arranged version of Amplitude (or Frequency). Suitable for an handheld machine, but still a little bit old.
  48. It's an imperfect package, but even the sporadic frame rate chop and well-worn track list couldn't conspire to keep me from really enjoying most of my time with Rock Band Unplugged. There aren't many rhythm games on the PSP, but this is easily the most satisfying experience I've had with the genre on the PSP, warts and all.
  49. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    It's a fundamental (problem): you're playing Rock Band on a PSP. [Aug 2009, p.112]
  50. Rock Band Unplugged may look and sound like Rock Band but without instruments to hold and friends to join in the fun, all that’s left is a solitary and miserable experience with intolerable load times that had me rushing back to my console version of Rock Band 2 to wash the bitter taste from my mouth.

Awards & Rankings

#15 Most Discussed PSP Game of 2009
#28 Most Shared PSP Game of 2009
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 43
  2. Negative: 3 out of 43
  1. Sep 12, 2012
    A fair well made game if you expect a full " Rock Band " experience . For PSP users suffering for not having to many things in the device , RBA fair well made game if you expect a full " Rock Band " experience . For PSP users suffering for not having to many things in the device , RB does a little to entertain and be good time killer . Full Review »
  2. Feb 25, 2012
    Playing four instruments with regular buttons simultaneously sounds like a crazy idea but Rock Band Unplugged makes it work. TransitioningPlaying four instruments with regular buttons simultaneously sounds like a crazy idea but Rock Band Unplugged makes it work. Transitioning between instruments feels natural and as for the rest of the gameplay, its classic Rock Band. If you can't get enough of the series, then you shouldn't pass up the chance to play it on the go. Full Review »
  3. Oct 31, 2022
    Jugabilidad radicalmente opuesta a la tradicional y aún así emular la dificultad de la misma. Si haces ciertas cosillas ilegales y consiguesJugabilidad radicalmente opuesta a la tradicional y aún así emular la dificultad de la misma. Si haces ciertas cosillas ilegales y consigues todas las canciones dlc's... imprescindible para fans del rock and roll y las Dixie Chicks. Full Review »