Review by paleselan

Reviewed: 07/30/13

Not Everything GameFreak Touches is Gold

HarmoKnight is a game that proves that not everything GameFreak touches is gold. This isn’t to say that HarmoKnight is a bad game, because it isn’t by any means. It’s just that HarmoKnight doesn’t meet the standards that GameFreak set for itself when it usually releases a game, most notably with the Pokemon franchise. I went into HarmoKnight with very large expectations, and although I got a good game in return, I didn’t get the game I was hoping for.

HarmoKnight is very simple; too simple, in fact. A vast majority of levels can be beaten by pressing no more than two buttons. One button is used for jumping, while another is used for hitting enemies. This is very disappointing, as most other rhythm games have a pretty diverse control scheme. Occasionally, the game will allow you to play as another character for a very short amount of time. These variations aren’t very unique, and these extra characters still only use two buttons, which pretty much defeats the purpose of putting in extra characters in the first place.

The only time when you’re using more than two buttons is during HarmoKnight’s awful boss battles. These boss battles are pretty much quick-time memorization events. The game will blurt out a sequence of button presses, and the player has to repeat the button presses back in order. These levels aren’t very intuitive in the slightest, and they’re a drag to play through. The worst part of all is that when these levels are replayed, all the boring cut-scenes cannot be skipped, extending the awful levels out even further.

Another feature which isn’t fleshed out as much as it should be is the difficulty. The game has two difficulties. There is a default normal mode and a harder mode which is unlocked once a player gets a “great” ranking in a level. Unfortunately, in all the worlds except the last one, the normal difficulty is a pushover. Most music/rhythm games have three or more difficulty levels, but HarmoKnight plays it simple and safe once again, opting for only two. This greatly decreases the amount of value of HarmoKnight, as it takes much less time to complete.

Rhythm games live and die by their soundtracks, but HarmoKnight doesn’t have much of a soundtrack to boast about. The last of the seven worlds is the only one with really good music. There are only a few Pokemon tunes in all, so it is a very small minority of the whole package. The rest of the music is forgettable and even annoying at parts. Fortunately, the 3D graphics are pretty good looking, so the game does have one feature than can put it above the others.

HarmoKnight isn’t a bad game, it’s just overshadowed by all the other wonderful games in the genre. GameFreak should stick to games it is good at, particularly Pokemon. HarmoKnight is too simple, only using two buttons most of the time. The music isn’t that great, and there isn’t enough content in the game to justify a $15 purchase. With so many other better music/rhythm games on the 3DS, why settle for one that’s only okay? Those who are fans of the genre may want to check the game out, but for those who only play the occasional rhythm game I strongly recommend TheatreRhythm: Final Fantasy. Those who are craving a GameFreak game should probably just wait for Pokemon X & Y.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Product Release: HarmoKnight (US, 03/28/13)

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