|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 20, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Joseph Catalanotto
August 6, 2008 - It's no secret: The Wii has set in motion a revolution of sorts. People like my own parents, who previously looked down on video games with disdain, are suddenly a little less contemptuous of those who enjoy games - especially if it's a game on the Wii and even more so if it's a more casual game that's easy to get into. Wii Music takes simplicity and accessibility to a whole new level, and it's sure to please the legions of casual gamers that have become fans of the Wii.
Wii Music is so simple it makes other basic games like Wii Sports seem complex. It promises to be a very intuitive music-making experience, and if you can appreciate that fact, you'll likely enjoy the title. But, if you're a more serious gamer, you'll be hard-pressed to get much enjoyment out of this game; while it is an interesting title, it's obviously geared toward the casual gamer and is so simple that anybody could pick it up and play it.
Wii Music offers very little guidance to players, but the game is straightforward enough that this really isn't a problem. Select your song and an instrument for each player, and you're off. The game promises to have more than 60 different instruments, and the big selling point for the title is that all these instruments can be played intuitively and simply. Whenever you've got a big collection like this, some items are sure to be better than others, but trying out all the different instruments and creating your ideal medley of musical instruments with three friends promises to be one of the most fun aspects of this game.
In many ways, Wii Music is like a Guitar Hero for people who were too intimidated by the guitar's five buttons and plethora of falling notes. Wii Music attempts to take that core spirit of entertainment catered to by such titles as Guitar Hero and Rock Band and strips away most everything else. For casual gamers, it's going to be awesome; the ability to play a wide variety of songs along with your friends using nothing more than a few Wii Remotes is going to be great. But at the same time, the lack of complexity is clearly going to turn off hardcore gamers who like all the bells and whistles the more challenging music games out there have to offer.
By far, the controls for the variety of instruments in Wii Music are what make this title so accessible to gamers of all ages. You'll have the option to control a wide range of instruments, from the more intuitive like drums or trumpet to some surprisingly original uses of the Wii Remote, as is the case with instruments like the handbells or piano. Button presses are kept to a minimum, and often all you'll need to do to play notes is press the 1 and 2 buttons in the correct order. Even timing is not incredibly important in this game, although coordinating your notes with other players is obviously required.
Some of the instruments are a touch more complex. The drums, for example, require more motion and button inputs on your part compared to some of the other instruments. By pressing different buttons, you'll access different parts of your imaginary drum set, from the bass pedal to cymbals. Additionally, there's a single-player drumming aspect that incorporates use of the Balance Board to control two different drum pedals. It's a significantly more complex and rewarding experience than what's otherwise typical in the game, but it's a lot to ask of gamers to own this peripheral that can only be obtained from a ninety-dollar gaming package.
Wii Music is not for everybody. There are no strict rules, you can't lose, and there's no rating system for how well you play through a song. If you're a big fan of Rock Band or Guitar Hero, you're going to be happier just sticking with what you've already got. But if you're a more casual gamer, Wii Music is sure to please. The game is as simple or as complex (to a degree) as you want, and at its core the title is really about making music and reveling in the sounds. It's certainly a pure experience, but such a simple one that it may not last as long as some people might like. But still, with countless instruments, plenty of songs, endless improvisation possibilities, and the ability to record your jam sessions and send them to your friends, Wii Music is certainly worth a look.
CCC Freelance Writer