System: Nintendo Wii
Title: Wii Music
Publisher: Nintendo
Circa: 2008
Overall Rating:
 93 percent

 load screen

Intro

In an era of competitive music games, there’s one game that dares to focus on the music element itself. Nintendo breaks from the trend of Guitar Hero and Rock Band and launches off exploring the vast areas of music itself. With the option of using the Wii Balance Board to aid in playing the drums and the Remote and Nunchuck being used for the rest of the numerous instruments, this game offers something that no other music game can: Creativity. It’s very important to understand I am not looking at this game in comparison to Guitar Hero and Rock Band. I would also reiterate that the game itself is fundamentally different from both of those series. When I got this game, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I knew that it was more focused on creativity, but it took playing it to really understand just how much is in the player’s hands in terms of just what you can create. It really is a great game for people learning about music or for people who want to understand more about the fundamentals of music. You play as your Mii throughout, so you get to see yourself (sometimes in multiples) playing through the song.

Story

The Maestro welcomes you to Wii Music, a game about playing music and expanding ones understanding of musical styles. With the aid of the Be-Bops and crew, you’ll explore the various facets of music, playing all the while.

Gameplay

Let me say this to start off: Holy #^&*#%^ $#^&

First off there’s The Lesson Mode:

In this part of the game, you’re taken through first the basics of just playing the various instruments so you understand what you’re doing. The game functions using the Remote and Nunchuck in tandem a good bit but there are also instances where it’s simply the remote. In this mode you have no choice as to what song you’ll be playing but the songs generally chosen are well known children’s songs at first (like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Do Rei Me) so most people will know the song and have something to work with. It’s using songs like this that the game begins to expand the options of what you can do. Once you make it through the basics you move onto Jam Mastery Lessons. In the Jam Mastery lessons, you’re present with the various styles (12 in total for the game) where you’re shown the basics of playing within each style. The Maestro walks you through with the Tutes (his assistances) playing along with you, giving you an example to follow. Each of these lessons are broken apart based on the 6 parts of the song: rhythm, melody, chord, bass and percussion (two parts). As you play through each part of the song, you build it up, with your Mii filling for the Tutes more and more.

 

Jam Mode:

This is easily my favorite mode of game play. It’s got 3 different options, all supporting various players and allowing for expansion at a later point in time as well.

First in the mode is what is known for jamming: Instrument Improv.

This mode has no flow charts, no script, it’s just you, the Wii and the Music. The Tutes are there, but won’t start playing until you have, and even then they listen a bit first to get the jist of your beat. They then start adding in something of a beat to help you out and fill out the song more.

 

Jam Session: Quick Jam

If you want to play, can’t choose just what to play but are itching to start. You just choose how many people are playing, choose Miis are appropriate and have at. The game chooses instruments, stage and band part. It’s good sometimes to get at a song you might not otherwise play at least or to just sucker a friend into playing something. There is of course a shuffle option to get another choice.

 

Jam Session: Custom Jam

This is the game mode I spend the most time in honestly. I like just how much flexibility you have with all the songs and instruments. There are at least 20 different songs, all with options for the 12 different styles of play that are loaded as default on the game. Some of the songs are simply classics obviously chosen because most every one knows them (like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Do Rei Me, The Legend of Zelda) but as you play through lessons and make videos, you unlock more songs (Mute City, Material Girl, Daytime Dreamer, La Bamba, Chariots of Fire). You also can choose from at least 12 different stages, to go with the music and those options expand as well. After you’ve chosen your song and stage, it’s time to choose the style, instruments, part, tempo and accompaniment. Every song can have things added, every style can be messed around with, changing the instruments. This is definitely the mode where the game itself takes off and really let’s you play around with song of your favorite songs or some of the classic songs you grew up listening to. There is a flow chart that can be called up for any part of the song as well either to be followed or to be used as a guide as how to work with the song. This is good when you’re still learning the song or want to change the style of a song.  After everything is chosen, you play. At the conclusion, you’re presented with the option to go back, change the instruments, either to reduce or expand, or to save the video. By choosing to save, you can always go back at a later point and change the song around. Maybe you don’t like having the Hand-bells there and want to use the Cat Suit or the Sitar. Just go to the video and rearrange it! When saving, you make a jacket to represent the song, choose your rating of the song and save it. The game supports up to 100 videos, so feel free to go crazy.

 

Videos:

Self explanatory actually, as the mode used to check out your recorded videos, allowing you to improve or otherwise alter them as you see fit. There’s another title for this section, at least for me, bragging rights.

 

Games:

What Nintendo game would be complete without some just-for-fun games? There aren’t a lot, but they are fun to play and good for unlocking at least some content within the game.

Mii Maestro:

YOU are the maestro, conducting through various songs in different parts. My personal favorite is the choral portion of “Ode to Joy” you get to conduct through. I tend to overuse the Megahit (a cymbal clash and the WHOLE choir jumping!), but I love the sound of it which makes it hard to resist in that song. This is the only part of the game where you are rated based on your ability to match and keep the time for the piece.

Handbell Harmony:

This game is great alone or with up to 3 other friends. There’s a music-flow guide and your Mii is given 2 colored bells. Playing through is easy, just ring your colors when they come up on the chart and line up with the grey bells on the left side of the screen. This is one of the games that got me hooked into Wii Music in the first place. Some of the songs are just infectious, you have been warned!

Pitch Perfect:

You think you got a good tonal ear? Put it to the test here! This mode has various difficulties and in each you’ll be asked to pick out different changes in pitch and tone made with many different instruments. This is a good way to train a tonal ear as well. It really does require some finer hearing at the higher levels of difficulty, where there’s only a half-step difference or perhaps just a small key difference.

 

Wii Balance Board:

This merits its own section just because. This mode is simply about the drums. The board acts as a kick-pedal for the set. The game walks you through the basics of use then lets you have at. It’s really a wonderful way to play if you get the chance.

 D playing

Multiplayer

Up to 4 people can play at once. Of course, in this game, with time, one person can BECOME 4 people. Also, by sending your Videos to your friends through your Wii, you can share and expand what you’ve got in each. This also means they can share their videos with you as well.

Omniqix and D

Controls

Primarily using the Wii-Remote sometimes supported with the Nunchuck. There’s a completely separate option for using the Wii Balance Board

Graphics

This game using the default graphics, built around the style of Miis. Everything blends well to the Mii enviorment and is meant to fit them. Seeing a Mii in comparison to a Tute is actually surprising, but you just have to wait and play the game to find out just what that size difference is there.

Sound Effects & Music

I intentionally skipped on some details in game play because the instrument variety falls into this category more than anything. The game boast it has over 60 instruments, I can say it delivers. A short list just to give an example:

Flute, Recorder, Galactic Horn, Harpsichord, Toy Piano, Rapper, Singer, Acoustic Guitar, Sitar, Cat Suit, Harp, Xylophone, Violin, Upright Bass, Electric Bass, Steel Drums etc.

The songs themselves are a good bit of Nintendo tunes, but that honestly makes sense as they already have the rights to the music and have documented the actual information of playing them through. There are a total of 52 songs, with some licensed in there. What I can tell about them is that they were chosen for how recognizable.

Obscurity

For everything that is what this game offers, and what ad support it gets, its simply not as well known as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. It’s honestly more enjoyable by a different group, looking into music itself.

Summary/Author’s Take

I went from having a game that sounded fun to having a game that was honestly helping me as musician. Maybe it comes from having to play piano since I was in Elementary School or how Guitar Hero got me to pick up the guitar for real. It’s just how this game is that lets me indulge, almost as a guilty pleasure my musical side. There isn’t one song on the game that I can access right now that I wouldn’t consider playing. I’ve made, to date, 17 videos and won’t have noticed if the game didn’t number them itself. Ron likes to come over and we’ll just jam on the game for at least 10 minutes before working on this site a bit. It’s a great way to get the creativity flowing at least.

 

Story

70 percent

You are it!

Gameplay

95 percent

Power to the Mii!

Multiplayer

95 percent

Wii has this down pat.

Controls

95 percent

Quick to learn, quick to love.

Graphics

80 percent

Mii style.

SFX and Music

95 percent

This is the game, baby!

Obscurity

40 percent

The ignored child.

Overall

93 percent

A one and a two and a three go!



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