Games that make you smarter are a big fad right now, especially on DS. But while the Brain Ages will actually entertain while you learn, Rhythm ‘n Notes will frustrate, annoy, and can actually make you dumber.
There are two modes of play: rhythm and notes. The rhythm section will have you tapping to a beat while the note section will put your ear to the test.
The note mode is all about recognizing a particular note. The game will sound one note or chord, and the player must pick out this sound from a list of keys with the stylus. While this section might be easier for veteran musicians, it is nearly impossible to complete with an untrained ear. Because there is no actual tutorial on how to recognize different notes, players will be left with no other option than to randomly choose an answer. And to make matters worse, the only way to move on to the next tutorial is select the correct answer 100% of the time. To rookie music makers, this is an impossible feat. After losing for the 10th time in a row on level one, I shut the game off in frustration. There is no point to suffer this much when playing the first level of any game.
Rhythm mode is the game’s second mode. Here, the player must tap the screen in beat with the music, almost like a DDR with a stylus. While this mode is a lot more fun that the horribly designed note mode, it still suffers from lack of responsiveness. Many times I touched the screen in perfect harmony with the game’s music only to have a miss hit or the game would not recognize my screen tap completely. The first stage is nothing more than tapping the screen in the same pattern, in the same beat in a very easy sequential pattern. In fact, it could not be more simple. However, because of the lack of responsiveness, I again played this stage more than 10 times before completing it. This game actually made me feel dumber because it took so long to complete level one.
This game is absolutely ruthless and does take any type of crap from the player. This game is like that coach or teacher that beats their students until absolute perfection. Because the only way to progress is with a perfect score, the tedium is unbearable. If you think about it, professional musicians might miss a note here or there when playing in concert, but the crowd will still love it. And with the required score always being held at 100%, I couldn’t help but feel like I was taking a test in school instead of having fun.
For a game that is based on music, this title surprisingly lacks in the audio department. There just aren’t enough musical tracks to keep anyone interested. Plus, there are many times when the game is SILENT! When listening for that one chord in the note mode, there is no background music at all. This makes waiting between turns seem like forever. Perhaps this lack of audio wouldn’t be so bad if the game was visually appealing. However, this is most definitely not the case. A little alien/bug creature navigates the player through the game’s menus and gameplay modes. However, it looks like this little guy was drawn by a 5th grader in art class. The same goes for all the backgrounds and the rest of the game’s sprites.
Rhythm ‘N Notes Improve Your Music Skills is supposed to be an educational game, but I think this is farfetched. I don’t see anyone learning anything from playing this game as it does not actually teach you anything…except teach how to become frustrated and to learn the values of agony.
Through the lack of tutorials, the game does not teach you anything. Instead, it merely says, here are some notes – try and figure something out with them. No where does this game educate the player on melody, harmony, pitch, and tempo. Only absolute musical prodigies will understand this game…but that does not mean they will enjoy it.
This game, unfortunately, is one big negative. In fact, I am having a hard time coming up with a single positive aspect about this game other than the game it makes players realize what a bad game is. There is no point in owning this game as it suffers from gameplay issues and programming errors beyond control. Please do not buy it even if your life revolves around music or if you see this game in the bin for $4.00.