Finnish startup Ovelin has picked up plenty of awards over the past 18 months since we stumbled upon them demoing their first game WildChords at a conference in Malmo. Now they’re back with another fun take on learning to play the guitar, with the official launch of Guitarbots.

Just like WildChords, GuitarBots is designed to be played with a real guitar, but whereas the previous game was an iPad app, this time it runs on the Web so is open to a much broader audience. As you play notes on an acoustic or electric guitar, your computer’s microphone picks up the sound and uses it to control the game.

Here’s the company’s own demo, explaining how it all works:

The game takes clear inspiration from Guitar Hero, but with the benefit of working with real guitars and an emphasis on teaching you to play. Whereas WildChords had more of a beginner-focused slant to it, GuitarBots has more than 300 levels covering everyone from beginners to experts. Take a look at this example of one of the tougher challenges, for example…

GuitarBots was first demoed at the Slush conference in Finland last year, and now after a period of testing with early users, Ovelin is finally ready to unleash the game to the world. Although it’s browser-based, you’ll need to be on a PC or Mac, as the Unity Web Player plugin is required to play. To tie in with Valentine’s Day this week, a special pack of songs is available to serenade your loved one with.

ValentineSwing 01 730x456 Guitarbots: Like Guitar Hero for real guitars, in your browser

Guitar tutor apps are an increasingly interesting space. Aside from Ovelin’s work, we recently covered Instru-magic’s Songful, which won a prize in the Midemlab competition last month.

Guitarbots is free to play for five minutes per day, and you can earn extra five-minute blocks (up to one hour of play time per day) for getting friends to sign up. For unlimited play, you can pay a $9.99 per month subscription, which seems a little steep, but with such pricing models largely untested for browser-based games, Ovelin has to start somewhere.

Update: Ovelin CEO, Christoph Thür has ben in touch to explain the company’s pricing strategy: “I totally agree it is indeed more expensive than many online games. Though weighing in the educational aspect (and what you pay for classes), we find it a fair offer. (And again, up to one hour daily free playing is actually quite a lot for normal users). We also checked different leading online guitar learning services like Jamplay.com which is 20$/month (without any game, just videos). For comparison, other online guitar services are here:  – GuitarBots actually undercuts every other guitar learning service we have seen in terms of price – often massively (except some free youtube channels etc).”

➤ GuitarBots