SEGA’s latest outing on the 3DS brings the rhythm action adventure game Rhythm Thief to the market, combining beautiful anime cut scenes and fast action tempo gameplay; Rhythm Thief is looking like a good distraction from some of the smash hits that have arrived on Nintendo’s handheld as of late and we were recently lucky enough to get hands on with this musical gem.
Set in Paris, Rhythm Thief brings the French capital to life in an almost chess board format. Once all the formalities of the game are sorted you’re greeted with a 3D rendition of the capital on the handheld top screen, with the game having you move from point to point around the city.
The story behind Rhythm Thief focuses on a young character called Ralph and his companion dog Fondue. During the main gameplay segments Ralph has an alter ego in the form of the Phantom R who is an artefact thief with the ultimate aim of discovering the truth about his father’s disappearance, eventually discovering something deeper than what the eye can see.
Throughout the Rhythm Thief experience you’re confronted with enemies, puzzles and treasure hunts with each enemy encounter varying every time you come across these segments. While you won’t find a new mini game each time, the enemies flooding your screen with provide you with plenty of different experiences. One segment could have you pressing buttons in time with the music playing in the background to hit them away, while another will have you using the bottom touch screen to make gestures to avoid jump or slide under objects.
Difficulty is obviously thrown in the equation with the addition of faster tempo music which really tests your timing and mental steel. Puzzles within the game won’t have you racking your brains out but do still provide a thinking man’s game. Some are easy and can be done with little thought, while some require you to take a step back and think about it. These can range from matching two pairs of pictures together to access a safe or repeating the rhythm that played to gain access to a security system. What these segments do is offer a great pace to the game, which gives time for the player to recover from a hectic rhythm segment.
Rhythm Thief also offers a chance for players to practice their rhythm timing in the game via selectable mini games from the menu. Some of these put you in the boots of your dog Fondue while others put you in the shoes of the Phantom R. These missions record your high score and rewards with coins upon completion, grading your score from A-E.
Aside from this, Rhythm Thief offers gameplay for those that want to collect things. Alongside the main mission the game offers players a chance to collect different instrument parts which collaborate into the phantom instrument. Looking for these parts brings the player all over the map in Paris and gives players a different experience from the main gameplay segments. To find these objects you have listen for when the phantom tune plays and tap the bottom screen to discover the item.
For what the 3DS is capable of, Rhythm Thief’s visuals hold up very well. Cut-scenes are done in an anime style and make for very good watching with the 3D slider at the sweet spot. As mentioned previously, the game’s map is rendered in 3D and is pleasing to look at, famous monuments and landmarks also stand-out with noticeable detail.
Rhythm Thief visuals work best when the 3D slider is around the middle mark. However some gameplay segments may be too fast for the 3D effect to be of benefit so it’d be best to find the best depth for your eyes.
Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure is due for release sometime in February 2012, exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS.