Sega has been on a downward spiral for the last few years, as they have failed to really reignite the flame for the Sonic series and haven’t really been able to deliver a must have game for a while. With this being the case, many planned projects had to be cancelled, but really what is surprising is how one game managed to slip through the cracks and that game being Rhythm Thief. The question is however why did this game slip through? It is simply some toe tapping music and a great story that really is set to deliver.
Sega’s hopes all lie in this game that they published and developed. The story in Rhythm Thief is set in a modern day Paris and follows the exploits of a young boy named Raphael who, under the rouse of Phantom R, seeks out to steal items of interest with the help of his dog sidekick Fondue. As the story goes on Raphael must enlist the assistance of a mysterious girl named Marie, constantly avoid the police and attempt to stop the plans of a resurrected Napoleon Bonaparte. The games story and presentation stand out quite well and easily can draw in with its wonderful mystery. The only unfortunate side to the story is that it is short and only lasts for about six hours.
Like the Layton series Rhythm Thief presents regular anime style cutscenes that help to push the story forward, and the animation within these scenes is really beautiful. Though that is not the only similarity drawn from the Layton series as the game often uses picturesque locations that must be tapped around in order to find hidden collectables which gets tedious quickly, there are also little puzzles that appear along the way that while quite enjoyable to complete they do tend to lack difficulty often being easy to beat.
With all that said the gameplay also fairs quite well and is almost as good as the plotline. Rhythm Thief features 50 Rhythm games that can be found across the course of the story and beyond. They range from simple swipe in a certain direction in order to an action to the rhythm for dance games, there is even a rather interesting violin challenge, as well as pressing buttons to a specific rhythm to take out or avoid enemies in some recurring challenges.While they use these methods for the rhythm games quite frequently there is still plenty of diversity offered between rhythm games that even includes a Samba De Amigo inspired challenge, and a decent a decent sword fighting challenge that is actually pretty good.
That is not to say this gameplay is perfect, in fact some of the rhythm games are troublesome and are actually quite annoying. Some of the rhythm games are controlled by the gyroscope on the 3DS. The system is awkward and it quickly becomes upsetting when you get to a point in the story that requires you to beat these games in order to move on. Another complaint is the scoring system, the problem here is the system forces you to be near perfect all the way through through the game to get a good grade, making a single mistake can end up being costly and can turn an A grade all the way down to a fail. The game can leave you quite annoyed.
Despite those few flaws the music really fully redeems Rhythm Thief and is just brilliant, for a game about rhythm you would always hope that they can deliver on the music and it does, Rhythm Thief offers an assortment of genres in its music that is sure to appeal to most players. My personal favourites are more of the orchestral pieces or solo violin they are relaxing and can keep you calm and happy even if you are doing poorly. Outside of these particular types I often found a good selection of the music offered to be ones that it was easy to tap my toes with while playing, and the good sign about it is the music gets stuck in your head so I often found myself humming along with a theme from the game randomly. It just goes to show how memorable it is when I can still remember it and still on occasion start randomly singing the songs, which outside of Disney is a really hard thing to make me do.
Sure Rhythm Thief has its flaws but even with the problems the story, presentation, gameplay and music are still very memorable. For me personally I don’t think I would have cared if the music or even gameplay were there Rhythm Thief in a sense is really about its story and its presentation which is just so amazing and in my opinion is the main reason to play the game, the gameplay and music do really help hit it home though. I really hope we see more adventures with Raphael in the future, Rhythm Thief is probably one of the best games I have ever played and I couldn’t recommend this Sega masterpiece anymore then I already do.