Musiic Party: review

  • Format: Wii
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: PQube
  • Developer: Independent Arts Software
  • Players: 1-3
  • Site: http://www.musiicparty.co.uk/

  • Musiic Party (so ker-azy it needs two letter ‘i’s in the word Music) is a poor man’s Rock Band. No, wait; that’s what you’re supposed to think – sort of. No fake instruments are necessary; instead, the remote and nunchuk are used to mimic guitar, bass and drums. Does it Rock The House as the subtitle suggests, or merely ruffle the curtains?

    There is a remote-only control option, but we shan’t linger on it. Firstly, it prevents you from accessing all of the game’s features. Secondly, the one-handed drum controls are awkward and counter intuitive. Thirdly, waving a lone remote around isn’t much like playing any instrument at all; and shaking a piece of plastic at the TV with a Tina Turner song playing in the background could lead to some supremely awkward moments should your partner unexpectedly walk into the room.

    “What the hell are you doing?”

    “I… I don’t know.”

    So, let us consider only the remote and nunchuk combo (and surely none of you own a Wii without also owning at least one nunchuk?). No matter what the instrument, you have an ‘Event Bar’ during each song. For guitar & bass, coloured circles (each representing a note) stream in from the left, right, bottom, and – on the highest difficulty – top of the screen. When each circle hits the middle of the Event Bar, that’s your cue to play the note.

    This is you. Don't you look... er... cool?

    A brief flick of the remote mimics strumming/plucking strings. The ‘frets’ are on the nunchuk’s analogue stick – hold the corresponding direction as you strum. It feels a little less stupid if you position your hands so you’re holding a pretend guitar. Drums (the notes all fall from the top of the screen here) work much as you’d expect, with the remote a stick for your right drum and the nunchuk – which also houses an accelerometer, remember – your left. Some drum notes require you to hold down B or Z respectively as you ‘drum’; and that’s it.

    Miss too many notes in a row and you’ll fail the song. Do particularly well and you can activate Nova Mode (think Star Power) for a points multiplier. Though it’s an easier experience than either Guitar Hero or Rock Band on their higher difficulties, the timing of the notes is no better (or worse) than that of the aforementioned big boys. There are a few multiplayer modes for you to play competitively or co-operatively with up to two other people, and there are thirty songs to bop along to. It’s the songs, however, that are this game’s main problem.

    They’re licensed, but they’re all covers. This means that the enjoyment to be had from this game leans with worrying weight on the quality of the cover versions. Some – such as Razorlight’s Before I Fall To Pieces – are very good. One even surpasses the original, becoming a great song in its own right. We’re talking here of Out Of My Mind by James Blunt, which suffers an unfair advantage. Any James Blunt cover is better than the original by default, by virtue of its not being sung by James Blunt.

    Unfortunately, stand-out tracks such as these are the significant minority. Many others are no more offensive than ‘not bad’; but the limp and lifeless version of the Spin Doctors’ Two Princes made us want to punch a hole in something. Preferably the vocalist.

    Others suffer more by the original bands having distinctive, irreplaceable vocalists. If it’s not Lemmy, it’s not Motorhead; and nobody screeches at a microphone quite like Ben Kowalewicz. Boy, were we surprised to see Billy Talent in the tracklisting; and boy, were we disappointed when we first found out that Fallen Leaves, like everything else, was a cover.

    Hmm, I think I used to have that He Man playset...

    The distinctive vocalist issue – the whole cover version issue, to an extent – would have been patched over if, like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, microphone compatibility had been included. It hasn’t been – a missed opportunity which would have improved the game greatly for many. With songs such as Smoke On The Water, Our House, and I Fought The Law on the disc, many a dad would have stolen the mic from their embarrassed offspring.

    The game does have more to offer, but none of it is welcome. The story mode (which must be played to unlock all of the songs for quick play) tells a boring tale with shabby comic strips and an uninspiring voiceover. You have no say in what instrument you play for which song during the story – you play what you’re told when you’re told to. There are alternative clothes, instruments etc. to unlock, but you won’t care. The ‘gigs’ are broken up with ‘roadie task’ minigames; which are all equally tedious and, bafflingly, difficult. You can at least choose to skip each one after failing it.

    It’s difficult to tell who the target audience is for this game. The younger the player, the more they’ll struggle with the co-ordination required; the older the player, the more aware they’ll be of the cover versions and the guitar/drumsticks they’re not holding. If you’re curious, then you’ll certainly get some fun out of this. Without original tracks and an old-school karaoke hook, however, its appeal is limited.


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    Written by Luke K

    Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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