Posts Tagged ‘music’

Music On: Learning Piano (NDSi)

Posted: September 4, 2010 in Nintendo DS/i/3DS
Tags: , ,

Learning Piano plays out just like any other modern music game at first, in that it gives you a track playing in the background and tasks you to play along with it — hitting the proper notes, in the proper sequence, by tapping on the touch screen with the stylus. The thing that separates this one, though, is that the notes aren’t abstractions. Instead of colored gems streaming down the screen at you, you get the actual sheet music and a real set of piano keys to use in playing along. The effect, then, is that you actually are learning piano — you can use this game to practice a song a couple of times, and then take your skills over to an actual real-world piano and really be able to sit down and tap out the tune.

That might not blow your mind, but I love the simplicity of it — and the feeling that I’m actually getting something out of my time invested in playing the game. Guitar Hero never helped me learn a real guitar, and Rock Band only taught me how to snap drum sticks in half.

This download is also well-presented and pretty feature-packed for just two bucks, too, with 15 different classic songs to unlock and learn from Beethoven, Bach, Verdi and more — you’ve heard them all before. The Wedding March is even in there. And the wayAbylight separated out the difficulty settings is inspired — on the easiest level the game will pause at each note and wait for you to find and play the right one, helping you get your feet wet with each song. Then you step it up to Normal and the song doesn’t pause any more — it just gives you light-up cues for which note to play and when. Then Hard Mode takes those cues away, further pushing your education along. It’s very well thought-out. (ign)

Published by: Abylight
Developed by: Abylight
Genre: Music
Number of Players: 1
Release Date: US: August 30, 2010
MSRP: $2.00
E for Everyone


Just Sing! National Anthems Screenshot This basic, boring karaoke download is so limited it’s laughable. It invites you to sing national anthems, which are just about the safest, least offensive and least interesting songs on the planet, and then only gives you five to choose from – and not all of the five are in English.

You’ll proudly present your patriotism with American favorite The Star-Spangled Banner, crooning out about bombs bursting in air with all the pride of a pop star kicking off a baseball game. But then you’ll come up against Brazil’s national anthem, which is entirely in Portuguese. Good luck even knowing how to pronounce the words, much less what pitch to send your voice to.

Even worse than that is Japan’s “Kimigayo,” which is all in Japanese (of course) but also only four lines long. Literally. It’s like playing a Guitar Hero song that only has 10 notes and lasts 15 seconds.

This is the worst, most limited, most boring and most incoherent collection of tracks any music game marketed in America has ever had. Anything positive there might have been to be said about the core karaoke gameplay design is rendered completely moot, because there’s no way anyone could enjoy this abysmal line-up of just five songs, only two of which are in English. And they didn’t even include “O Canada.” (ign)

Genre: Music
Release Date: US: August 16, 2010
MSRP: $2.00
E for Everyone

Rhythm Core Alphan (NDSi)

Posted: August 14, 2010 in Nintendo DS/i/3DS
Tags: , ,

Rhythm Core Alpha ScreenshotRhythm Core Alpha is DSiWare’s latest non-game music-making tool, a piece of software so overflowing with different instruments, octaves and options that it would make any normal person’s head spin. It’s the abnormally gifted musicians out there, though, that will really love it.

The interface is crazily crowded, with interactive buttons, switches and toggles spilling over the edges of a single screen’s boundaries – so you use the stylus to move the whole set of them around. There’s a list of instruments to activate, a timeline to drop drum beats onto, play controls with looping options, save files, a single-note play-along menu – it’s intimidatingly robust. That makes it hard to get into, at first. But you’ll be happy that there’s so much crammed in after you overcome the initial hurdle of figuring out where everything is.

Someone far more talented than me is going to take this app, master it and make some truly excellent music with it – but I actually wasn’t at a total loss. Even coming into it entirely uneducated, I was still pretty satisfied with the song I was able to come up. So give it a look even if you don’t quite think you’re at the peak of your composing potential – it might help you get there.


Disney Sing It: Family Hits

Posted: August 10, 2010 in Playstation 3
Tags: , ,

If there are two things I like way more than I should it’s Disney and karaoke videogames. Unfortunately, my love for Disney doesn’t extend to their cable network, so my enjoyment of the last three Disney Sing It games has been limited — I mean, there’s only so much Hannah Montana a grown man can handle. So I was more than reasonably excited to hear that  Disney Sing It : Family Hits would feature songs from the studio’s huge catalog of animated films. This game has been a long time coming, and it could have been awesome if there weren’t some things holding it back.

Before I really get into this, we all know what a karaoke game is, right? You sing, you get points, it’s exactly what it sounds like and it’s been a genre for seven years now. Moving on.

Family Hits features 30 songs spanning 60 years of animated classics. The game is available for the PlayStation 3 and the Wii, and both versions are basically the same, except that the PS3 has HD footage and camera support. Normally developing a title for multiple platforms isn’t a big deal, but in this case it causes some of the game’s problems.

Thirty songs is not a lot, and a karaoke game is defined by its song selection. For the most part these are great songs, with the exception of some of the Pixar choices (Do you remember that classic Randy Newman song from A Bug’s Life? Yeah, me either). Still, this game really needed to have more tunes. I love that songs from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and the Lion King are in here, but a lot of my favorite films only have one song, whereas Cinderella gets four, and the Toy Story series has three. Still, every song on here is better than most of the stuff they play on Radio Disney. These are Grammy and Oscar winning songs, sung by people who have the voices to carry the performance.

People can claim they don’t like Disney movies and music, but they’re usually full of it. I played this game like I play all singing games: I tricked friends into coming over, gave them wine, then busted it out. Sure, they all claimed they didn’t know the words, but then got a nearly perfect score in Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Unless you lived under a rock your whole life, these songs are ingrained into your psyche.

Every song includes footage of the film in great looking HD on the PlayStation 3, while the Wii is in standard definition. What is odd is that the music videos are montages of the film, and not just the scene the song is from. Certain movies, like the Pixar films, require this since the song wasn’t featured in full, but other times it just messes things up. For example, Almost There from Princess and the Frog has one of the most visually interesting scenes in the movie, but the music video has literally none of the cool stylized parts. What’s up with that?

They also missed a major opportunity by not having a DLC store. A music store would have made this game for me. It’s the biggest thing the Disney Sing It series is missing. The ability to expand my collection with downloadable tracks would ensure I’d be playing this game for months. So where the hell is it?

It seems like the fact that the game is for the Wii as well as the PS3 killed having more songs on the disc and a DLC store. Those features are just not as easily done on the Nintendo system. It’s either that or Disney is already gearing up for Family Hits Volume 2 (which the trophy whore side of me likes, but the consumer side of me hates).

  • Published by: Disney Interactive Studios
  • Developed by: Zoe Mode
  • Genre: Music
  • Number of Players: 1-8
  • Release Date: US: August 3, 2010
  • MSRP: $39.99
  • E for Everyone: Comic Mischief, Mild Lyrics
  • Also Available On: Wii, PlayStation 3
(via ign)