Review: Wii Music

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I remember sitting in the Nintendo press conference back in July, waiting with bated breath to see what the big reveal would be. It neared the end of the show, the lights went down, a fog machine went into effect, and music slowly creeped in. I wondered what it would be - A new Wii-specific Zelda? Punch-Out? A back-to-the-basics Starfox? My mind raced as the build-up continued. Then to my surprise, the single douchiest-looking person I've ever seen in my entire life (and I've been to The Hawk) appeared on stage, wildly flailing his arms around like a lunatic. He was "drumming" in Wii Music, which amounts to holding in buttons while flailing your wrists to produce something that might resemble music in some alternate dimension. Things got worse. Shigeru Miyamoto comes out with other Nintendo employees, and they proceeded to play fake instruments with the Wii Remote in god-awful ways, in a demonstration that did not sound like music or look like fun.

I gave Nintendo the benefit of the doubt. They had taken huge risks before with their products, and these have overcome initial negative reaction and ended up printing money for the company (DS, Wii, etc). Perhaps Wii Music would end up surprising me like Nintendo's previous risks.

It didn't. It's worse than I imagined.


Wii Music is not a videogame. It's a Fisher Price "Baby's First Guitar" toy with a bigger price tag and probably less fun. It requires absolutely no skill, offers no sense of reward or incentive to play forward, and is quite possibly one of the least fun toys (I won't call it a game) I've ever experienced on a major gaming system. The fact that it will undoubtedly sell a downright stupid amount of copies is something that angers me as much as when I heard there would be aliens in the new Indiana Jones.

You can't fail songs. You can't do good or bad. You don't have any significant control over the music, you just move the controllers in the intended direction, and notes will insert themselves into the song. They will differ in pitch and tone depending on what buttons you're holding, which is about 1/4th as much fun as using the whammy bar on Guitar Hero (which isn't that much fun to begin with).

It's a bad toy for the Wii, and you should not purchase it unless you are under three years old. I was completely on the Nintendo train with most of their software decisions with the Wii. Wii Sports was certainly a casual game, but it made great use of the controller and was still fun for the hardcore gaming crowd. Wii Fit was a novelty, sure, but it actually had featured some good exercises and some fun minigames. It was worth playing whether you were a soccer mom or a Call of Duty junkie. Wii Music completely misses the mark. It will offer absolutely no fun for experienced gamers, and I can't even fathom anyone (no matter how "casual" of a gamer they are) having enough fun with this game to warrant a $49.99 purchase.

Graphics: 4.0

Sound: 5.0

First Play: 3.0

Replay Value: 2.0

Gameplay: 3.0

Overall: 3.0