Fret Nice

Rocking its way to XBLA this week is the 2-D musical platformer, Fret Nice.

What makes this game different is that you get the chance to use your Guitar Hero or Rock Band controller instead of the control pad to move your chosen character.

The aim of the game is to complete each level by defeating as many enemies and collecting as many musical notes as possible. With the completion of each level you get awarded a medal. To earn more medals, you need to try and beat the set time and score which you can view at the start of each level. The medals you collect are used to open bonus levels, buy weapon upgrades and items which you can use to customise your character.

Now to defeat the enemies you have to rock out and play random notes whilst in mid-air. Each enemy can have up to five different facial attributes which dictate what type of riff to play. So an enemy with one facial look requires you to use only one fret. Whereas an enemy with more than one look means you need to be creative and use all the notes and rock out. This game also comes with a two player mode, giving you the chance to have double the fun.

The controls for using the guitar are very straightforward. Green and yellow frets move your character left and right. To make your character run and climb, you need to use the strum bar. This is also used when you play the red, blue and orange frets when attacking. The whammy bar is used to hover while in the air, whilst you need to tilt the guitar to jump. If you find that you struggle to use the strum bar and whammy bar try not to worry, you can always choose to have your red and blue frets perform either action. This function can be turned off and on in the ‘help buttons’ which is on the main option screen. But if you feel that using the guitar is just not for you, you can always choose to use your control pad instead.

Overall this game is very colourful and the music is really catchy. The look of the game reminds me of Little Big Planet, where the character and backgrounds look as though they’re made up of various layers. I found it gave the game a very playful feel, but don’t let the look fool you. This game can actually be hard at stages so try not to underestimate it. What I found to be a downside was the use of the guitar as a control pad. I couldn’t quite get my head around using it instead of my control pad and at times I found it difficult for the game to recognise when I tilted the guitar to jump. I thought that it was a shame that its unique selling point wasn’t as honed as I hoped.







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