Rhythm 'n Notes Review
Rhythm 'n Notes box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Success 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Agetec Inc. 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 23, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The downside here is that you can't replay the target chord. You only get to hear it once. That would be fine in the later stages of the game when you're expected to have developed a better sense of pitch, but in the early stages this is a detriment to ear training progress. Not only can you not hear the original chord again, but you can't hear the chord that you selected as the answer until you've already selected it. This forced method of trial and error will only help to develop frustration with the musical learning process.

Rhythm 'n Notes screenshot

Now we touch on the rhythm component of the game. This will be more familiar territory for some as it follows a Simon-style of rhythm pattern recognition. However, it's almost as frustrating as the Notes part of the game in that there is little instruction, direction, suggestions, or criticism. You'll start out with the lady-beetle (her name is Tsunami if you must know) playing a very simple pattern on a can. When she's done, all you have to do is replicate that exact pattern by tapping on the screen. You can opt to use the L and R buttons if you wish. The patterns start out ridiculously easy but soon progress to what could be construed as drum solos. Not only will you have to remember lengthy rhythmical passages, but other drum pitches will be added to the mix requiring you to press more than one button or hit another drum onscreen.

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These complicated rhythms soon become a lesson in memorization which detracts from the musical quality that should be the focus of the game. I would have just as much fun memorizing phone numbers from the Yellow Pages. All of the beats have to be played back at the exact time in relation to the internal metronome which can be extremely hard to hear. If you don't have the rhythm perfectly memorized in you head, you're going to have a hard time getting to the next level.

Beginning students rely heavily on aids such as metronomes, repetition, and instant feedback, not to mention direction. Rhythm 'n Notes seems to almost berate the student, forcing them to repeat various sections right from the beginning. While I agree that students don't have to be coddled and rewarded for every lame attempt they make, neither should they be continually punished. The game forces them into a mode of learning that is definitely not nurturing. It's my guess that most potential students will pass on this game and get their musical appreciation the old-fashioned way, by playing a recording of their favorite band.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Features:

  • Practical music exercises are kept light and fun thanks to your musical tour guide, Tsumami.
  • Rhythm lessons teach time signatures and patterns on an array of percussion instruments.
  • Note lessons teach the player to recognize both individual notes and chords on the piano.
  • Gameplay that starts off easy, but grows gradually more complicated as you progress.


    RATING OUT OF 5
    RATING DESCRIPTION
    2.8
    Graphics
    Limited color palette. Budget-title graphics lack charm.
    3.6
    Control
    Solid control system, perhaps too simplistic.
    2.2
    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    No voiceovers. Weak metronome beat during rhythm section.
    2.4

    Play Value
    The game forces you to replay various sections and learn by rote.

    2.7
    Overall Rating - Average
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
  • Screenshots / Images
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