Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is an RPG with music. That is, it makes a big deal out of music; in fact, the whole story is based on music to tell us a tale of love and loss. Based on a PlayStation game from nine years back, this is a re-creating of what was a cult classic. The game follows JRPG conventions and tries to deliver an entertaining, if a little over-used, story and gaming experience.

You play as Cornet, a young peasant girl who, believe it or not, is infatuated with a super-hot hunk of a prince. Bizarrely, Cornet can talk to puppets by blowing on her magical horn, which certainly helps her in her adventure. So, with puppet summoned and magical horn by your side you can begin your quest around this generic world of dungeons, woodlands, castles and magic. Yes, the storyline is incredibly dull and forgettable, and the 'dialogue' is often enough to make you laugh...even though it isn't funny - but the music, wow. No, seriously, wow.

I'm not a massive fan of happy-clappy Japanese ballads sung by small girls, but this is a real treat. And I'm not being sarcastic. It might be odd to say since I can't understand a word of it, and the lyrics (subtitled into English) sound ludicrous, but to have such an unusual and fun 'quirk' is pretty much the saving grace of this game.

Screenshot for Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The gameplay is formulaic and simplistic to say the least; Rhapsody certainly never pulls any surprises. Problem is, not only does it never surprise, it never tests. The top-screen constantly displays a map of the area you are in, making exploration far too simple and navigation around is just far too easy to understand. The whole world is instantly accessible, which is bad in this case, as it takes away any mystery and sense of excitement. You pretty much always know where you are going and what you need to do, and that doesn't make for much of an adventure. On using the DS hardware, Rhapsody has certainly made a bit of an effort. All the controls are worked nicely with the touch-screen and (even if it seems a tad pointless) you get to blow into the mic to make music in a fun little mini-game. Aside from that, everything is pretty formulaic.

The battle system, once again, is formulaic and over-simplified. Gone are the strategy RPG roots of the PlayStation original, and in comes a hideously straightforward turn-based system that lacks any sense of fun or challenge. All you have to do is select an attack, recieve a less powerful attack and then repeat until your greater power leads to victory. If, somehow, you feel you might not win, you can normally always run away thanks to the bafflingly over-generous escape system.

Screenshot for Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

So easy and simplistic are the battles in this game that you can automate most of them and sit back and watch as the computer wins for you. Needless to say, you'll breeze through most of the battles, even those against supposedly testing bosses. Whilst the character and style of the game is great, with some of the attacks being really entertaining, it is nearly always far too easy.

Repetition is another major issue. There is a lot of backtracking, which can get pretty damn tedious. You often have to go back through areas and dungenons you've already completed to get to somewhere else or you'll be forced to turn back on yourself to get to where you need to be. What makes this stupidly annoying, if it wasn't already, is the presence of pathetic enemies that you have to defeat. At least on your first visit the battles are a little bit challenging and fun, but when repeating an area they really are rubbish.

Screenshot for Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The game does have some saving graces though. Artistically it looks great with a really unique and pleasing style. The environments and sprites are colourful and loaded with character and life. And whilst some of the dungeons look suspiciously similar (some seem to be the same but washed over with a different colour). As mentioned earlier, the Japanese music is great and adds a really great sense of style to the game; alas, the rest of the sound doesn't. In fact, for the most part it doesn't exist, which is a real shame.

Rhapsody can be rushed through in about ten hours, which is pretty short for a game that boasts to be something of an epic RPG. Whilst you can undoubtedly spend more time by doing all the side-quests and whatnot, the main bulk of the game doesn't comprise of a great deal.

Screenshot for Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure on Nintendo DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Disappointingly easy and formulaic, with most battles lacking any challenge or creativity. A real shame, when you consider the character of the game and potential of it. Far too simple, far too repetitive and as a result, just plain dull.

Graphics

It looks really pretty for the most-part, and the sprites are really imaginative and fun. Colourful, vibrant and with great character, this game is certainly visually impressive.

Sound

The Japanese songs are pure class, and push the DS sound system to the limit; a real treat. Alas, the rest of the sound in the game is almost non-existent, which is puzzling.

Value

Lasting about ten hours on a quick play-through, but you can probably double that if you want to try and see everything.

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Mediocre

About this score

It certainly has some potential, but Rhapsody constantly disappoints. Artistically it shines, with great visuals and music, but everywhere else it is a massive let-down. Predictable and tedious, with very little to keep you interested, this is a game that refuses to do anything to challenge you. Whilst it might be nice to be really good at a game (and anyone will be really good at this one), it isn't nice to sit there bored out of your skull from not being tested in any way shape or form. Probably one only for hardcore fans or the original.

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15.05.2009

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Also known as

Marl Oukoku no Ningyou Hime: Tenshi ga Kanaderu Ai no Uta

Developer

Nippon Ichi

Publisher

NIS Europe

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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Shame it's so straightforward, I like the idea of a musical RPG (though I think I'd expect a more interesting battle system out of it...)

Nice one James.

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