Game Music

E3 2008: I’m Going to Call It M4 (Major Minor’s Majestic March)

July 17, 2008 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook E3 2008: I’m Going to Call It M4 (Major Minor’s Majestic March)on Twitter

Music maestro Matsuura and artist Greenblat have done it again. While I can’t tell you this game is “like” Parappa the Rapper (the duo’s last title together), I will say that the game offers a pretty revolutionary and downright fun experience.

Players take control of a marching band conductor who leads his band through treacherous terrain to reach a fixed end point, collecting bonuses and recruiting band members along the way. It really is a hard game to describe, as there isn’t anything quite like it. In fact, I had the game explained to me several times by the developer, NanaOn-Sha, and still didn’t understand it until I played it today.

Hit the jump for full impressions.

After learning the ropes via in-game tutorials that teach players how to keep the tempo by raising and lowering the Wii Remote at a desired tempo, I jumped right into the game. I was pretty terrible for the first ten minute or so. Basically, you can keep the tempo at whatever you’d like, whether it be slow or fast, but certain band members (made up of pigs, sheep, seals, dogs, and other animals) prefer to play at a certain tempo and will leave the band if you stick to either extreme. Change is good!

Along the way, potential band mates appear on either the left or right side of the screen, requiring players to flick the remote in their direction in time with the music to recruit them into the band. This is a highly rewarding experience when it all finally clicks and makes sense, but that admittedly takes a bit of time. Our own Dale North was a pretty quick learner though, and was building up a pretty sizable band when he gave the game a try.

Greenblat’s artwork is psychedelic. Players march over land and under sea, and the selection of characters is quite eclectic. It’s very colorful, and a lot of fun to look at, rivaled in quirkiness only by SEGA’s Samba de Amigo.

The music itself is your standard marching band fare, although the NanaOn-Sha rep hinted that there might be a few non-traditional stages that will be revealed at a later date. Even though I’m not at all a fan of marching band music, I found myself enjoying the game, as well as finding my arm to be really sore from my vigorous waving of the marching baton. Maybe they’ll pack in some kind of plastic shell for the remote to make it more baton-like? The rep didn’t dismiss this idea… so we’ll see what happens.

Needless to say, the technology behind this game must be a monster. The audio stretches and expands in real-time with the tempo that the player sets, which is a remarkable feat. I can’t stress enough how cool this game is, and I can’t wait for it to be released this holiday season.

So, do you think Matsuura can instill a breath of fresh air into the rhythm game genre that he was partially responsible for creating? Are you looking forward to M4?

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