As a reviewer, you have to find both the good points and the bad points about any game.
With the top-notch titles it can be difficult to find the negative points without being really anal about the odd loading time or the texture you saw pop up in the third dungeon on Level 3.
Wii Music is the opposite. I’ve been putting off writing this review, despite the increasing aggravation from the Editor, due to the fact I just couldn’t think of anything positive to say about it – not even in sarcasm.
But then I realised that I had to change the way I looked at it. I had to ignore the TV advertisements which had trendy, good looking people in their early 20’s laughing and enjoying Wii Music – they’re lies and border on false advertising. No, I had to look at it from the point of view of an eight year old, because it’s quite clear that Wii Music is a kid’s toy – one of those noisy kid’s toys that a spiteful Aunty will buy your kids just to piss you off.
Wii Music flaunts over 60 different instruments to play, and when I say “play” I mean pretend to play as you are only armed with the Wii remote and the nunchuck controller. This means you must go through the physical motions of pretending to play each instrument. Hold the nunchuck like a fretboard and strum the Wii remote if you’re playing a guitar, hold the remote up to your mouth (or close to it) and nod up and down like a Glen Miller band member if you’re playing any instrument that you would otherwise blow into. In the same vein, use the nunchuck and remote as drumsticks as you play the “air drums”, pressing various buttons for snare, cymbal etc.
Notes float along the bottom of the screen and it’s your job to play them in time. It’s easy to forget which, if any, buttons you’re meant to be pressing when you’re doing all the movements too, but fear not, because it’ll give you a great score anyway. In fact you can flail your arms around like Kermit the Frog on Ritalin and it’ll tell you that you did a good job. You see where I’m going with this? There’s not a lot of skill involved.
While it is possible to play Wii Music by yourself… please don’t. You’ll have the men in white coats knocking on the door in minutes. This is a game that must be played with friends as it’s the combined human effort of the “band” that provides even the slightest enjoyment. Take Rock Band and Guitar Hero World Tour for example, playing them with buddies is where all the fun lies. Wii Music is no exception.
That brings me to the music selection itself, and onto reviewer rant number… ah crap, I’ve lost count. The music is MIDI quality. That’s right, this is 2008, a time dominated by cinematic masterpieces like Metal Gear Solid 4 and Gears of War 2 but all of a sudden we are propelled back to a time when the Commodore 64 was king and I wore silver pants. Initially you are provided with one song – Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, all the rest must be unlocked and range from equally nauseating jingles to classical numbers, video game themes and some pop tunes. All sounding no better than a polyphonic ringtone.
What is cool about playing these songs though, is that you can choose which style to play them in. Want to play Twinkle Twinkle as a hip-hop track? You can. Want to play Ode to Joy with a xylophone, tuba and bass guitar? You can do that too.
Once the song is over you can save your video, design an album cover by dragging your Mii onto it and send the whole thing to someone via WiiConnect24. That person can pick up the song you sent, change it however they want, send it back again and so on.
If you tire of the main game itself (took me all of 2 songs), then there are a few minigames thrown in for good measure. Mii Maestro has you conducting an orchestra by waving the remote like a baton. It’s strange though because I did quite well and scored really badly, and scored well when I flailed my arms around at random.
Another minigame is Hand Bell Harmony in which you shake bells in time with the beat (yawn). But the best by far, if only for a short time, is Pitch Perfect where you must try to identify whether a pitch is above or below the ideal.
If Wii Music had been released two years ago (admittedly before the Wii console itself) then it would have had some serious novelty value. But with the likes of SingStar, Rock Band and the Guitar Hero series, Wii Music can only serve as a game for the youngest and perhaps the oldest gamers out there. So with that in mind, Wii music does serve a purpose, but I’m clutching at straws here.