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Maestro! Green Groove Review: Classical Rhythm Gaming

Nowadays, music games come in all shapes and sizes, but there was a time when they didn’t. Some games attempted to incorporate music as an element of their gameplay mechanics instead of making it the focus of the game. While most never really reached any astounding level of commercial success, some impressed critics while others improved on the missteps of their predecessors. The latest DSiWare game from Neko Entertainment, “Maestro! Green Groove,” reminds me of those early music games that invented new ways for players to interact with notes, blending platforming and rhythm in a unique way.

“Maestro! Green Groove” is a small chunk of a DS game that was released in Europe late last year entitled “Maestro! Jump In Music.” In both games you play as Presto, a pink songbird who is attempting to save his world through music. The gameplay should seem very familiar, with a character running across the screen from left to right, trying to make it to the end of the level successfully. However, in “Maestro!” the player controls the platforms more than the character, plucking strings that he is running on to make him jump or fall so that he can collect fruit in tune with the music. Additionally, you have to keep an eye out for spiders that appear, which you must tap “Elite Beat Agents” style to get rid of, and who also serve as the game’s percussion.

While the concept of the gameplay is pretty simple, the levels prove to be on the more challenging side, since you need to score an acceptable grade to pass. This means that you need to strum perfectly in succession, hit all the spiders, and collect as much of the fruit as possible; all of which are daunting tasks. Fortunately, that’s where the replay value comes in. “Green Groove” is short, almost too short for its $5 asking price, but going back through the levels to perfect your score doesn’t get old too quickly.

Overall, “Green Groove” is a really easy to get into, enjoyable to play game that comes in an ideal DSiWare package, with adorable little graphics, a classical soundtrack that most gamers should enjoy. Unfortunately, its release pretty much kills any hope of seeing “Jump In Music” at retail on U.S. shores, but if each area of that game gets released as a DSiWare chunk fans in the States should really have much to complain about. If you’re looking for a fun little distraction with a rhythmic twist, “Maestro! Green Groove” is definitely worth taking out for a jam session.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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