Major Minor's Majestic March

Having produced Parappa the Rapper, the game that effectively defined the rhythm action genre on consoles, Japanese musician Masaya Matsuura and his company Nana-On-Sha have a well deserved reputation for innovative music titles. They also did the excellent Vib Ribbon and its equally unique, sadly Japan-only follow-ups Vib Ripple and Mojib Ribbon, so news of their first Wii game is guaranteed to make us prick up our ears.

Major Minor’s Majestic March sounds as simple as any previous Nana-On-Sha game. Using only the Wii remote, you swing in time to the music, presumably in different directions or with different motions. The aim is to get your band of marching animals to play together at the same speed, creating a harmonious tune or a terrible cacophony, depending on how good you are. It might sound a bit like EA’s Boogie, which wasn’t exactly the greatest thing ever, but the faultless pedigree of its developers gives us every confidence.

The game will have eight locations to march through, and more than 25 songs arranged for animals with trumpets. You start with a small band and pick up new members as you go. Each animal plays a different type of instrument, and you’ll be able to hear each one as it gets added to the mix.

Unlike previous Nana-On-Sha games, the soundtrack isn’t entirely made up of original compositions. There are a whole lot of traditional marching band medleys, and we’re anticipating something like the Japanese version of Donkey Konga, which is not a bad thing. Hopefully one or two tracks will be a bit more ‘out there’.

There’s a maximum of 15 individual instruments per song, and from what we can gather, you’ll be able to make your own combinations. Things might not sound so great if you overload the track with too many of one type, but it seems like the option will be there, and you’ll be able to change during a level.

The game’s distinctive look is the work of artist Rodney Alan Greenblat, who also designed Parappa the Rapper and its sheepy sequel Um Jammer Lammy. Our excitement meter reads ‘giddy’ with the prospect of this one.

Mar 19, 2008