Friday , April 19 2024
Wii Music hits a high note with wide caches of instruments, genres and songs while teaching key music skills in several fun formats.

Nintendo Wii Review: Wii Music

One of our most creative human expressions is music. This Wii exclusive game feeds that artistic desire with creativity, improvisation, skill and art. There are no mistakes and no game scores – just the pure joy of playing, or, if you need practice, imitating play. This free roaming game play allows great creativity and exploration. Developers avoid a cookie cutter progression scheme to create more nonlinear opportunities and experimentation.

Wii Music uses the Wii remote, nunchuk and balance board (bass and hi hat pedal for the drum scheme) for control, which all require finesse and timing to truly master game play. The 1 and 2 buttons on the remote allow you to modify the sound while other buttons produce some flashy physical moves (spinning, etc.), which can jazz up the video recordings. You can even tip the remote up and down to change certain instrument’s sounds. These easy-to-use controls allow anyone to explore Wii Music, with a broad spectrum of styles and goals, developing skills in timing, rhythm and harmony. Of course, novice music players can learn all these skills and improvise at their own pace, ultimately unlocking more songs (50 in total with more likely on the way) and other content.

The song cache includes a wide range of recognizable, simple tunes (“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “O Christmas Tree”, etc.) that also spans the globe (Mexico, Japan, Russia, etc.), so just about anyone can recognize a few tunes. Various musical genres (jazz, Hawaiian, etc.) enhance worldwide inclusion even more. Widely popular songs include "Every Breath You Take" by The Police, "Material Girl" by Madonna, "The Entertainer" by Billy Joel and "Woman" by John Lennon. Other song standards include "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees, "I'll Be There" by The Jackson 5, "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes and "The Loco-Motion" by Little Eva. Wii Music also includes numerous arrangements and symphonies by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss plus pieces from Carmen and the Chariots of Fire theme. Developers also had Nintendo game music from Animal Crossing, Mario, Zelda and even F-Zero. You can always improvise, modify and create your own song arrangements any time, which creates endless results.

Music instrument/theory veterans have a great advantage here, especially in the pitch tests and conducting mode, and can probably just jump right in, though novices might want to hit the practice modes before big performances. These songs work well in an arrangement with the wide instrument base (60+). Unless you watch your music performances on video, you never really get to see yourself play. Wii Music incorporates the Mii avatars to let you view your performance as well as hear it. The visuals really help with the timing on percussion instruments while other challenging instruments just take time to master. Developers throw some entertaining musical elements into the mix such as dog barks/cat meows (with your Mii in costume), modified vocals, cheerleader, martial arts and game sound effects.

The game modes and mini/side games incorporate several multiplayer and online sharing options. The jam mode has quick or custom set-up with a great improvisation set allowing you isolated performances without background music. Quick jams randomly select a song to play while custom jams allow many options as you play with Tutes, AI band mates who fill in the gaps (five maximum and two minimum). The wide musician control options produce some creative scenarios. You can toot your own horn by overdubbing an entire song yourself by performing each part individually then recording it. Recorded jam videos include big screen background, environmental effect and camera angle options. You can save as many as 30 music videos and make favorite playlists.

The exciting online options let you broadcast your creations and share videos with other Wii Music owners who can then change your performance and send the altered video back. Re-arranging songs requires a lot of talent and time investment; developers wisely give players this option so experienced players/musicians can share some amazing hints and unique spins on the whole process. The online element has great possibilities. Developers should consider more life-related songs like “Bridal Chorus” in the future so players could send them to friends as a video greeting card or announcement (using future text options for lyrics and/or messages).

Side games includes Hand Bell Harmony, which challenges pitch and timing as you play the scrolling notes on cue, and Mii Maestro, which fulfills a fantasy scenario that most people would associate with this game – conducting an orchestra. You also get a basic grade after the Maestro session.

The endless game play and expansion possibilities, plus an infinite amount of future songs, put replay value through the roof. The custom jam and learning elements create a unique, worthwhile title that represents all music genres extremely well. A well constructed, challenging game that breaks away from other music titles in the ever growing music game genre. It’s great that you don’t need to spend extra money buying peripherals and setting up the balance board for the drum takes a minimal amount of time. This game might bring back music class memories while creating challenges that might even lead to some real lessons and overall music discovery worldwide.

Wii Music is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.

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