Maestro! Green Groove begins with a very colorful, downright charming intro with appealing animation. My initial impression was hopeful curiosity as I started the DSiWare title. My curiosity was rewarded with a delightful cinematic that reveals the story in what can only be described as wholesome.
After the cinematic intro, Maestro! Green Groove eases you into the game with a brief tutorial describing how the game is played and soon you will be precisely plucking and deftly drumming to a frantic concerto climax. I quickly realized that this is actually a very clever rhythm game. The likes of which easily trump such games as Tap Tap Revolution and other rhythm games that try to clone Guitar Hero for a touch screen.
Maestro! Green Groove presents three well executed styles to convey story, gameplay and boss battles (and menus). For the story, a comic strip format is chosen which successfully places the narrative at your attention. In the gameplay, we have classic well animated 2D sprite based graphics. And then for the boss battles, to differentiate change in gameplay and give some weight to the importance of the scene, 3D models are used on top of a 2D background.
The most important aspect behind each visual style is that they are all equal in attention to detail. Ranges of colors are splashed all over, but with a fine direction so that darker colors are placed in the background, leaving everything in the foreground vibrantly painted.
There are two mechanics at work with an overlying theme and you are scored on how well you handle it. Stroking strings and drumming enemies while keeping the beat and managing to collect as much fruit as you can, will help you reach a A+ rating on a level.
It is frightening how addictive it becomes to jam out to classic music and have the stark realization that properly following the song while maintaining a laser like focus on what potential fruits can be had make the time soar past.
Luckily, the stylus as an input device is incredibly accurate. Coupled with its slender frame helps avoid covering up the most valuable part of the screen. The part where all the fruit is rushing toward you. You only have a moment to figure out if you need to drop down or go up to collect more fruit while being on the lookout for other strings that let the music flow. Later on in the game, red strings show up and they are critical for timing. Pulled off correctly and Presto will be launched into the air where fruit can only be accessed at that height or to sail past a more difficult platform area.
Skill is rewarded with a higher ranking. If you are finding easy or medium not as difficult, you can unlock the hardest difficulty setting to really increase the frantic pace of the game. Gameplay is executed quite well.
“run and tap to the rhythm of a Bollywood musical orchestra whose reinterpretation of classics such as Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Chopin’s Nocturne n°2 and Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” will drive you wild.”
These are the songs you will be playing with in Maestro! Green Groove. Remember that you are controlling the music. Flicking a string, collecting fruit and bashing enemies are all timed perfectly to match the music. The songs are classics and are quite enjoyable. But how well it sounds is entirely up to your play style. It should also be noted that the Boss Battles are custom compositions that play out like a game of Simon.
Outside of that you are greeted with cheerful music on the start screen which is quite inviting and subtle tones while in the menu selection. It all works quite well.
You play as the overly charismatic, scat singing, pink bird named Presto who has won the heart of Bellisimo. However, your Guitar playing eight legged rival, Staccato jealous in a fit of rage goes about robbing the world of Green Groove of music and sound. Now it’s Presto’s job to battle the spider and his gang via song and dance. To bring peace back to Green Groove and sing to his beloved.
Maestro! Green Groove is an adorable and addictive mini-game. Other modes are unlocked as you play through the game, such as harder difficulty settings and free play. You also have the option of using the mic , thankfully, the developers were kind enough to make this part optional. Perhaps children might find this part more amusing, but as a grown adult singing in a public or private setting isn’t something I look forward to.
Achieving an A+ ranking on all levels on the hardest difficulty setting would be the most rewarding and would help draw out a longer play time. The full retail release is called Maestro: Jump in Music which offers six times the available songs, however the retail release is priced at $30. So it fits accordingly that Maestro! Green Groove with 1/6 the available songs is 1/6 the price. Maestro! Green Groove is available on DSiWare for 500 Nintendo Points which translates to $5.
My Verdict: 8.0/10 A solid, addictive and attractive DSiWare title