Be A Band Hero

I'm a casual gamer, which means I'm not into wearing a headset and playing Halo until 4am, but I am into fun video games that I can play with my friends while eating cheese puffs. I've long been a fan of Rock Band, so I was anxious to get my hands on Band Hero -- the new game from the makers of Guitar Hero -- and see what the differences were between the two. Coke vs Pepsi. Little Debbie vs Hostess. Rock Band vs Band Hero? Well, let me tell you:

In terms of game play, there isn't much of a difference. Band Hero is a rhythm-based game that functions the same way as Rock Band and Guitar Hero. However, the similarities end when it comes to Band Hero's 65-song playlist, which is much more focused on pop music than rock tunes. This means less head banging and more head bopping, but holy bananas -- I am loving the switch! Songs by No Doubt, The Jackson 5, David Bowie, FallOut Boy, The Turtles, Maroon 5, Lilly Allen, Spice Girls and Taylor Swift are what sets Band Hero apart from its predecessors.

There are several ways you can play Band Hero. If you want to get competitive (ahem, MELISSA) you can choose RockFest mode that includes varying difficulties designed for up to four players and up to eight players online. PartyPlay is a fun, casual way to play with a bunch of friends, and my personal favorite is the Sing-Along where up to four players can belt out some tunes karaoke style (no scoring, which means tone deaf participants need not worry).

Band Hero's song selection is so good that I was playing this game well after my friends got tired. Until 2am. Singing "You Belong With Me" in a zombie-like state of pop star delusion. If you'd rather rock than pop, I'd probably recommend saving your money for the Metallica reunion tour. In the meantime, I'll be practicing my Gwen Stefani moves.

The Band Hero bundle includes a drum kit, microphone and guitar (which doubles as the bass), and is available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii ($199 each).