The fourth installment in the ever-popular Wii series was expected to be more of a toy than a video game. After playing the game for myself, I can safely put that idea to rest – Wii Music is one of the best rhythm games to hit the Wii. Many people at first were worried that Wii Music would put too much emphasis on improvisation and little on other aspects of rhythm games, most notably timing. Thankfully the game allows players to either play in time to songs or add a little extra to the songs to make them sound unique and creative. Though the former is what most gamers wanted to see, the latter will certainly appeal tremendously to young children and non-gamers.
You are in control of the band
In terms of the controls, Wii Music easily exceeds my expectations. My initial reaction to the game’s announcement was that its controls might end up either too complicated for the mass audience of casual gamers who will likely buy this game, or too simple to find any enjoyment out of them for those with a little experience with the genre. Fortunately, the game does a good job of finding a balance between the two.
Playing the guitar, for example, is simple: hold the Nunchuk outwards, which will depict the neck of the guitar, and strum up and down with the Wii Remote. Sounds pretty easy but some of the other instruments -most notably the drum kit- require a little more precision and memorization. To play the drum kit, players will have to memorize button combinations and multitask with their feet, resulting in a rather confusing experience. Apart from the drum kit, most other instruments are rather easy and simple to play.
One of they key elements in whether or not gamers are willing to buy rhythm-based games is whether the roster of songs is appealing enough. Unfortunately, it isn’t so great with Wii Music. The casual gamer who doesn’t worry about the musical score too much will find plenty to like and so will the younger audience. Hardcore gamers will shun this game like the plague though. ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘Ode to Joy’ aren’t going to persuade gamers to rush out and pick up the game. The addition of some Nintendo classics is definitely a nice touch but when you look at it in a larger perspective, there is only a handful of songs. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to play pieces such as the theme for Earthbound or Pikmin.
Unfortunately, Nintendo made a poor call when they decided to include licensed tracks. Out of all of the licensed pieces in the game, only a handful are worth listening/playing to. Besides, the majority of the songs are foreign or childish to most people. Yet again, another reason why the game is better for younger audiences.
It’s a Rock Band everyday... minus the rock
Wii Music isn’t all about musical performances but boasts several minigames that open up a whole new experience. The Orchestra diversion for example, allows players to use a Wii Remote to conduct –you guessed- an orchestra. Players swing their controller up and down to a certain tempo to acquire points. Frantically swinging the Wii Remote will cause the orchestra to go berserk, whereas slow movements will trigger the opposite to occur. At the end of the performance, a grade is given to players to allow them to see how well they conducted.
Without a doubt, Wii Music is one of the most polished titles on Wii. The menus are slick and simple, and above all, easy to navigate. Mii avatars are integrated excellently, as with the inclusion of WiiConnect24. You can send your performances to friends for view by recording them in a manner similar to Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Your band can even have album art to help put it above the competition. You know, you will likely want to try and be the best rhythm band around.
Wii can jam together!
Above all, Wii Music is one of the greatest casual-friendly titles available on Wii. Though non-gamers will likely enjoy the game more than core gamers, there is still something to be found in the game for everyone. It may not be the best rhythm game ever, but it is certainly a welcome addition to anyone’s Wii collection. Honestly, no one should be embarrassed because they own Wii Music – it is a great, solid title that warrants a purchase like any other Nintendo-published title.
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