HarmoKnight is an interesting experiment on developer Game Freak’s part. The studio has become well known for its Pokemon games and hasn’t really done much else. Then along came HarmoKnight. For those who don’t know, HarmoKnight is a rhythm platformer exclusive to the 3DS eShop. You control Tempo and a few of his friends on their adventure to destroy the Noizoids and save the musical world of Melodia. That basically breaks down to pushing buttons to the music like any other rhythm game, but with platformer elements mixed in so as you will also be jumping over obstacles and hitting enemies as you go with the music. If you read my preview, you know I had a lot of fun with the demo. Let’s find out if the final product holds out.
More Varierty Than I Expected
One thing that had me worried going in was the very real possibility of there not being enough variety in the levels. I am very happy to say that this wasn’t the case; HarmoKnight mixes it up more than enough. The basic levels themselves don’t change much: Tempo runs from the left of the screen towards the right. But to make it more interesting every time you jump over something, collect a note or hit something, it will add to the music. To mix it up more later on, you get branching paths so you have to think and not just go with the music. Also, there are different playable characters. Instead of being Tempo with his staff all the time, there are levels where you control an archer or are riding in a kart slamming tambourines. All this came together to do a good job of keeping the game feeling fresh and exciting.
Really Goddamn Fun
This game is much more fun than it should be. It is kind of hard to describe the feeling you get after doing very well in a level. Picture yourself playing that first level of Super Mario Bros. we all know and love. Most of us can easily zoom through that level pretty flawlessly at this point and it’s a good feeling. Now picture that on top of visually seeing yourself do awesome, your playing makes the music better as well, so you also get audio cues that you’re awesome. It really makes you feel awesome after doing well in a level. Also, the cinematic boss battles are a lot of fun. In my preview I talked about the boss battle against a bee in the demo and how much I loved it. I’m happy to say that all the other boss battles were just as good, or better. These battles are pretty much quick time events events, but everything you do adds to the music and you can beat most bosses using just audio cues. These fights were much more fun than I feel like they had any right to be.
Since Game Freak is almost only known for its work in Pokemon games, it is only fitting to throw Pokemon in here in some way. This is done by rewarding you after every world with a Pokemon-song-themed bonus level. All these levels were basically the same idea as Tempo’s basic levels, but instead of random music, you get to recreate your favorite songs from the Pokemon series. If you’re like me and love Pokemon games, you will really appreciate these little bonus levels. Check them out in the video below if you’d like.
You Best Bring Your Headphones, Son
Because of how important the music is in this game, you really have to hear it. If this game were on a console, and hence your TV, this wouldn’t be a problem at all. But many people don’t really listen to the music on handheld consoles. You’re already playing video games on a train; you don’t want to force everyone around you to hear it. I tried playing the same level with and without listening to the game and I missed many more notes when I couldn’t hear the audio cues and was just watching for the visual ones. It’s not really a problem with the game itself as much as it is how you interact with it. But it is worth mentioning: You need to play this game properly.
Could Have Been Longer And Harder
I really wish there was more for me to do here. I completed the story mode is around six hours, and even going back to perfect everything only added another four-ish hours. This game does only cost $14.99 so it is still without a doubt worth every penny. I just wish the game was harder so I couldn’t zoom through it like this and longer so I had another reason to continue playing.
I really enjoyed my time with HarmoKnight. It has everything I like about rhythm games while adding enough to make it new and fresh. Especially when you consider that it only costs the measly sum of $14.99, I highly recommend this to anybody with even a vague interest in rhythm games or who just wants a simple, fun, and cute game to soak a few hours into.