The gameplay remains basically the same throughout and consists of two distinctly different parts. When you're playing your gitaroo, you'll use the PSP's analog stick to move a cone in the center of the screen to follow a line around the screen, and you'll need to tap and hold the circle button in time with commands on the line. When you're dodging the musical attacks of your enemies, button commands will fly toward the center of the screen, and you'll have to hit the corresponding button right as the command reaches the middle. The individual parts can get pretty tough, and things get especially tricky when the game starts alternating between offense and defense in quick succession. Still, with three different difficulty levels, Gitaroo Man Lives! can be as hard or as easy as you need it to be.
If there's any fault to find in Gitaroo Man Lives!, it's the game's length. The single-player game consists of only seven different levels, and you can burn through it in just a few hours, even on your first time through. It would be even shorter, were it not for the nearly minute-long load times that you have to endure between levels. The gameplay is interesting enough, and the catchy songs and some of the unlockables inspire multiple play-throughs, but there's no denying the game's brevity. There are some two-player options for competitive and cooperative play, and the co-op mode features a couple original songs. It's a good thing you can play the co-op mode alongside a computer-controlled companion in lieu of a real player two, though, since Gitaroo Man Lives! features only local multiplayer support, with no game sharing.
This is a pretty out-of-the-blue release for Koei, which has done nothing with the Gitaroo Man name since the first game's original release. Hopefully this is a prelude to a full-fledged sequel. Gitaroo Man Lives! is still a solid rhythm game for newcomers, but its brevity will ensure that almost everyone, first-timers and longtime fans alike, will be left waiting for the encore.