Wii Music

December 12, 2008

Rhythm and music games have overtaken the party game scene and are now the dominant force in the living room. These games have traditionally required dedication and lots of practice to enjoy; screw up badly enough and you or your band gets booed off the stage. Nintendo made Wii Music to make music games more accessible.

Wii Music aims to bridge the gap for gamers wanting to experience the thrill of a musical simulation without the burden of the practice. This is done by eliminating large guitar and drum controllers and utilizing the Wii remote and nunchuk as the only items needed to enjoy the game. To accomplish this, the musical experience changes from one where timing is important to one where the focus is based merely around feeling the rhythm of the music. In Wii Music you effectively play “air guitar” and the music follows your movements. Shake the remote fast and the music speeds up, slow down your movements and the music follows. It’s a novel concept really in that you are in control of the music as opposed to attempting to recreate the song as it was recorded. This places you into the role of the artist, creating music as you go.

Wii Music has 3 main gameplay modes: Lessons, Jams, and Games. Lessons teach you the basics of Wii Music and how each of the 4 control scheme types control different types of instruments. Jams allow you to either Improv the music as you go or play either Quick or Custom jams. There are 3 available Games to play including Mii Maestro where you take on the role of a conductor. Handbell Harmony is a game that focuses on playing a song using handbells and this game does focus on perfect timing to achieve a high score. Pitch Perfect is a nifty little game that tests your ability to match pitches or place notes in different orders.

If you own Wii Fit or have a balance board, you can also take advantage of drum mode that also includes its own Lessons and Jam modes. The drums take a lot longer to learn to play  compared to the other instruments.

Veterans of games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero will find Wii Music to be a complete waste of time. It just doesn’t pack the level of difficulty that those games provide. Where Wii Music shines is for the younger audience. Younger gamers will enjoy seeing their Mii recreate the music based on their movements.

Wii Music really didn’t strike a chord with me. I found it to be largely underwhelming as a whole. The games were entertaining, but short lived. The Jam mode was a novelty and became boring after a song or two. That said, my 4-year-old did enjoy playing Jam mode quite a bit. I don’t think Nintendo will win over any fans of other music rhythm games, but there is a good chance that Wii Music will act as a gateway game for younger gamers that may have not been exposed to other titles in this genre. Save your money unless you’ve got kids and even then, you might want to borrow or rent this one first.

Plays Like: Rock Band with no instruments
Pros: Good for kids
Cons: Gets boring fast
ESRB: E for everyone

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.