Publisher Nintendo%26rsquo;s own master creator Shigeru Miyamoto proudly declares that the company%26rsquo;s %26ldquo;play along with the band%26rdquo; offering Wii Music isn%26rsquo;t really a video game, so much as it is an interactive toy. He%26rsquo;s right, too. And that%26rsquo;s exactly what makes Wii Music tough for a devoted gaming site like GamesRadar to review and bewildering for a seasoned gamer to play.
Fundamentally, it%26rsquo;s similar to any other rhythm game. A song plays, and you pantomime playing one of about 60 different instruments %26ndash; ranging from guitar and harmonica to video game-y blips and animal sounds - using one of four basic control schemes. For a flute or horn you hold the remote horizontally and press buttons, for a guitar you hold some buttons and make a strumming gesture, drums turn the nunchuk and remote into sticks and the balance board into a kick pedal, and violin resembles guitar with different hand positions. Every other instrument is a variation of one of these schemes.
This brings us to the biggest, most disappointing way Wii Music resembles a toy more than a game: Its open-ended, rule-lacking simplicity. You literally can%26rsquo;t lose. No matter how you shake, waggle, tap, or swing the remote and nunchuk, you won%26rsquo;t hit a wrong note. Even if you%26rsquo;re inappropriately speed-picking your way through a reggae version of Yankee Doodle, the Wii just chooses notes that would fit into the song and plays them. Granted, you%26rsquo;ll get more points for staying in time with the music, but there%26rsquo;s still very little real sense of accomplishment, reward or progression. Finishing a song doesn%26rsquo;t feel like victory. It actually borders on pointless. You%26rsquo;ve got to dig deeper to find satisfaction.
That%26rsquo;s a tall order, because everything here is aggressively lukewarm. The song list is almost tragic; it starts with public domain blather like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, then mixes in generations-old licensed pop from the likes of early Madonna and the Monkees %26ndash; not exactly rockin%26rsquo;. There are six Nintendo themes: Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, F-Zero (Mute City), Animal Crossing, Wii Sports and Wii Music, but not all of these qualify as highlights.