Cowbell Hero Takes the Joke Way Too Far

Illustration for article titled Cowbell Hero Takes the Joke Way Too Far

I admire Digital Hero Games' dedication. Over a decade after Christopher Walken and the cast of Saturday Night Live hilariously introduced the phrase "More cowbell" into the modern vernacular and years after the first cowbell-fueled parodies of Activision's Guitar Hero franchise appeared on the internet, the developer released a full-fledged mobile game based on the phenomenon, complete with licensed music that must have cost a pretty penny to secure.


More than just a chance to play cowbell in the Guitar Hero-style, Digital Hero Games has created a story to accompany the game, telling the story of one man's psychedelic mission to change the future of music using that simple two-tone percussion novelty.

It's an amazing amount of effort for a game that's not all that fun to play.

Cowbell Hero's note highway is only two lanes wide. There's only so much a musician can do with an instrument they hold in one hand while holding a stick in the other, after all. You've got two sounds you can make, and those sounds are so profound that anything other than a simple rhythmic tapping breaks the spell an appropriately-used cowbell can cast. It's an instrument meant to be in the background of a song. Bringing it to the fore ruins songs like Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Incense and Peppermints" and the sound-alike version of The Chamber Brothers' "Time Has Come Today".

Cowbell Hero goes absurd lengths to try and make tapping along to classic songs entertaining, laying down patterns that feel completely alien to the music. The only real challenge is when the developers break the boundaries of what a cowbell is capable of, and then it just feels forced.

Cowbell Hero feel like that one friend that always seems to discover a meme months after it's grown stale. They treat it like a new and wonderful thing and go great lengths to share it with you. You laugh politely at first, but eventually you have to tell them that it's over. Then they ask you for $6.99.

Cowbell Hero

Illustration for article titled Cowbell Hero Takes the Joke Way Too Far
  • Genre: Rhythm
  • Developer: Digital Hero Games
  • Platform: iPhone, iPad
  • Price: $6.99

Get Cowbell Hero on the App Store



Holy hell, seven dollars for that? A free joke app would have been fine. I'd have been mildly cynical if it was a buck. My brain doesn't have a setting for seven dollars. That's insanity.