this time’s review sketch features the latest game for 3DS, Rhythm Thief! and as an intruder we have my fan character sparky joining in the groove with Phantom R! XD those drawings are working like a sort of semi-training to me when I’m not practicing anatomy…a sort of training break while still being training, you could say ^^ anyway, hope you like!
RHYTHM THIEF & THE EMPEROR’S TREASURE (3DS)
Genre: Rhythm game
Publisher: Sega (Nintendo in Europe)
Players: 1-2 (local)
Played for: 7 hours
Hello everyone and welcome to my new review! Today I’ll review the latest 3DS game: Rhythm Thief & the emperor’s treasure! It came out in Europe a few days ago, while America will get it in June! Developed by SEGA and being a sort of spiritual successor of games like Space Channel 5 and Elite Beat Agents, the game had a very good premise, presenting a very charming and simple style, kind of like Professor Layton but also getting its own identity!
The game speaks about Phantom R, aka Raphael, a world-famous dancing gentleman thief who steals famous art pieces before giving them back a few days later. His goal is to find his lost father and the only clue he has is a coin with a strange symbol on it and the game starts when he finds an ancient bracelet wich presents the same exact symbol of that coin. So, let’s dive in and let’s see if this game will hit or miss in its goal! :)
The graphic look in a rhythm game isn’t something the average player tends to notice too much, as what really counts in this case is the visual style. While technically Rhythm Thief doesn’t present astounding graphics (I I’d say they’re below average 3DS level), the art style of the game hits its spot, using a cel-shaded and simplistic anime look, with the rhythm challenges presenting a lot of flashy effects, dancing and funny animations for everyone to enjoy. Outside of the challenges, the game presents, in the upper screen the “world map” to move Phantom R around the locations, wich are shown in the lower screen in a 2d look that resembles quite a lot the Professor Layton games (even with secret items having to be discovered by tapping around the touch screen).
so while the graphics aren’t astounding, the visual effects and the art style make up for it, giving flashy and colourful visuals during the rhythm challenges for people to enjoy :) this without counting the beautiful style of the anime cutscenes, that while not having top-notch animations, have a distinct style wich I really like.
gameplay-wise, the game makes good use of the touch screen as well as the normal buttons, giving a wide variety of rhythm challenges, some hidden, some mandatory to get through the storyline…the challenges requiring touch screen controls or buttons work very well, some being harder than others to handle, but mostly being fun to get through. There also are challenges wich involve gyro controls, wich, unluckily, haven’t been implemented very well in most cases, making the challenges involving them feel quite more tedious than they should be, even if the concept behind some of them is neat.
between a challenge and the other the player is able to go around the map, tapping people to speak with them and also getting a few rhythm/music based puzzles that, while presenting a few smart concepts in many cases, they are way too simple to solve, resulting very underwhelming and just a mere distraction between story events and rhythm challenges.
Another problem is that the gauge that is supposed to judge the overall rating of the player’s game through the challenge is kinda broken. Sometime getting an A is easy or simply challenging, but some other times you could find yourself close to get an A, just to be cruelly punished to lose the rhythm for a split second, resulting in one single mistake ruining completely your grade and lowering it down directly to C. so yeah, it feels quite unfair, given how some challenges require a good rhythm precision and one single mistake can ruin everything to humiliating levels. Wich is quite a shame considering that those games have gamers who love to get a maximum rating on every song to complete it.
Despite that, you can use special coins that you can find tapping around the map locations that you can use to buy certain power ups that make the challenges easier, even if it kinda feels like cheating that way. The coins can also be used to unlock the videos of the storyline.
so while the gameplay is really fun and most of the challenges are very creative and flashy, there are a few flaws here and there like the underwhelming puzzles, the gyro control challenges being quite clunky (fortunately they’re very few and most of them optional) and a semi-broken rating system. It still doesn’t ruin the fun of the challenges themselves though, wich prove themselves to be fun, various and always presenting something new to the player, even with slightly different versions of a certain kind of challenge.
The storyline of the game, while not being groundbreaking is nice to follow, with likeable characters, especially Phantom R who proves to be charming even outside of his dancing moves. This is contributed by the anime cutscenes, wich, like I mentioned, present a distinct art style, simple but of impact, even if sometime the english voice acting sounds flat, especially the one of the main female character. Also, the story has two optional arks you can unlock by finding and completing certain “side-quests”, though this requires a lot of “tapping” wich may feel tedious to most, requiring perhaps more patience than it’s worth.
The soundtrack is, obviously, the strong point of the game. Charming, catchy, various and in line with the challenges it presents…it touches a lot of musical genres, even taking a couple of classical music tunes and readapting them for a couple of rhythm challenges (both of wich were really fun I must say). So the music of the game really hits the spot being just as charming as the main character, who also presents a not coincidental Michael Jackson-like style of clothing ;P
here are a couple of examples, like the main theme (wich kinda works as tribute to Lupin the IIIrd, a famous japanese anime character who happens to be a gentleman thief too :P )
and as second example here’s the first rhythm challenge music, wich like I said, is catchy and in line with the game’s flashy and dancing style :P
Afterall it’s a SEGA title, it’s bound to have a good soundtrack knowing them XD
ahem, anyway, to close down the review: Rhythm Thief is a very charming music game, presenting a very nice art style, a fun and addicting gameplay and a decent storyline, wich also strongly points toward a sequel since not everything will be solved and found out by the end. The game presents quite a few flaws wich makes it rough around the edges and maybe a little beyond that, but despite that, if you like rhythm games it’s worth trying it. Let’s hope for a sequel that aims to fix the issues of this title and that continues on the story wich promises to be quite engaging if continued properly.
This is why I award this game a…
a good game, with its flaws, but a good game nonethless. see ya with the next review, folks!