Wii Music is rubbish.
Seriously. It is as though Nintendo looked at all the money being raked in by Rock Band and Guitar Hero and said, “How can we tap in on this market without really putting in any effort?”
And so Wii Music was mailed in. Take some Miis, throw in some air guitar instrument motions with the Wii remotes, find some public domain music, mix in the usual measure of Nintendo required features, and let the sheep have at it.
I suppose I have to admire Nintendo for setting the bar extremely low. This is a game that somebody who cannot handle the colored buttons on the fret board of a little plastic guitar can still manage. But that does not make it any less annoying.
And the first, and most annoying bit is the fact that the Nintendo obsession with unlocking content is in full form here. So you cannot just jump into the game and play a song you might enjoy… not that there are likely to be any… no, you have to kick off with “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” in some crazed tribute to the Suzuki method.
And so you jam on electric guitar or drums or whatever to the song to which we all sing the “ABCs” here in the US. Fun. Not.
You then advance through “Do-Re-Mi,” “O Christmas Tree,” and “The Flea Waltz” to unlock “The Legend of Zelda” or, listed as popular, “Daydream Believer.” I suppose it meets the “popular at some time in living memory” benchmark. Looking at the list of songs the game has hidden away, there appears to be a couple of interesting titles, but we have not had the stamina to go unlock any of them so far.
There are other things to do in the game besides wave your hands to grammar school tunes. One which I thought might be a bit amusing was Mii Maestro, which involves conducting an orchestra Miis. Who doesn’t want to be the big shot with the baton?
You get to set the tempo for the piece, so you can drag it out like “Stairway to Heaven” or get all Herbert von Karajan and make it go by like “Flight of the Bumblebee.” (The man was a force, but could conduct some days like he was in a hurry to beat the traffic home.) Of course, to get to any songs you might like to conduct… and there are one or two… you first have to conduct “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” And even once you get something like Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons – Spring” or Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” on the menu, the game wears thin pretty quickly.
Of course, one of the worst thing of all about the game is that my daughter loves it.
And so we flail away together, Wii Remotes alive trying to mimic in some way the instrument we’ve each chosen, making noises that sound like distant relatives of the notes one would expect, occasionally straying into the neighborhood of the right tempo, and proving that when it comes to music we should probably just stick to the play button on our iPods. It is no wonder I steer clear of the minstrel in LOTRO.
The other killer for me is the fact that it sure seems like there ought to be some good in the game.
The jam element seems to be on the right track, but it always ends up as a disco train wreck or a cat fight in the band room. (Doubly so when one of the instruments you can unlock is your Mii wearing a cat outfit that makes caterwauling sounds.) That could be just us… though I’d believe it if something sounded good even once. We cannot be bad all the time, can we?
Meanwhile the wide selection of instruments invites experimentation and repetition, but only leads to disappointment as you find out that you make equally awful noises whether playing harp, bass, ukulele, banjo, sitar, marimba, saxophone, recorder, or snare drum.
Still, my daughter has fun with the game. I just end up with a headache. But I was never the air guitar kind of person in the first place.
Time to go play “Daydream Believer” again. Maybe it will sound better if I go with the steel drums this time.