Released in an era of rhythm-game renaissance, Battle of the Bands for Nintendo's Wii might be considered THQ's answer to Activision's Guitar Hero and EA's Rock Band games for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For a winning performance, the player attempts to hit the right notes as they scroll towards the front of the screen in familiar fashion, but Battle of the Bands does not make use of additional music instrument accessories, instead calling on players to make the right gestures at the right time with the Wii Remote.
Both single- and multiplayer modes are available in the game, but in either case, there is head-to-head competition between rival bands. Players choose to take the role of one of 11 fictional bands in the repressed city of New Cadenza, where master musician (and the game's top enemy boss character) Mr. Hong rules with his Violent Orchestra. Each playable band favors a different musical style, and in the heat of competition, players can change the playback of current song to match their band's style. As players compete by gesturing to the beat, scenes of musical instrument combat, with bullet-spewing violins and flamethrower guitars, play out in the background.
Musical styles featured in the game include rock, Latin, country, and hip-hop. The 30 available tracks run the gamut from "Brick House" by the Commodores and Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain" to the Soggy Bottom Boys' "Man of Constant Sorrow" and "Photograph" by Def Leppard, and each song can be played in any of the musical styles, depending on the preferred style of the band that is ahead in the current competition.