Daigasso! Band Brothers
Developer: Nintendo R&D2 | Publisher: Nintendo | Release Date: 2004 | Genre: Rhythm / Music | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Amazon
At first glance the Japanese Nintendo DS launch title Daigasso! Band Brothers doesn’t look like it has much to offer. Launch titles in general emphasizes visuals over gameplay but Daigasso! seems to have not received that memo. Thanks to the DS being very import friendly Western gamers are also free to check out this title, but the question is, why would you want to?
The game opens with a shot of “the only music shop in town open at midnight.” You are greeted by “Barbara Bat” the owner and freaky purple haired mascot of the game, but since everything is in Japanese that’s about as much as I could gather. If you are a fan of rhythm games, then all that matters is that this one has more than 30 tracks and each one is playable with one of eight different instruments. Like I said the game doesn’t look like it has much to offer, but don’t’ be fooled by its looks.
Daigasso! is quite daunting initially with all the Japanese text, but some trial and error will soon put you on the right path. Like most of these games a song is played and its your job to emulate it by timed button presses that correspond to what is shown onscreen. At first a tap of any button or the d-pad will suffice, but soon songs require you to press every button available and usually in rapid succession. Practice makes perfect and once you get the hang of things the game will have you hooked.
With tracks that span genres all the way from J-pop to games and world music there’s something for everyone here. The classic Nintendo tracks from titles like Mario and Zelda are cool as are the medleys, with the Russian one being especially catchy. Each track is scored by how accurately you hit the “head” and “tail” of the notes. At lower difficulty levels the trickier sections of each track are played automatically provided you touch the bottom screen at the appropriate time. At higher difficulty levels you are on your own without the luxury of such hand holding.
The main challenge mode has you working your way through a series of tracks with a bomb fuse shortening as you miss notes. Free play is cool to just jam with any song and instrument and there’s even a recording mode to mess around with. The multi-player is an unexpected highlight provided you can actually get some other players to jam with.
The tunes in the game are all MIDI which might not sound as impressive as other formats, but does allow for a very high degree of accuracy. All the instruments on a track play separately so if you miss your notes or press the wrong buttons you’ll immediately hear it. Some instruments are more challenging than others to play with the drums probably being the hardest to master.
None of the DS launch titles have exactly boasted impressive visuals but Daigasso! doesn’t look like it even tried. Everything is colourful but the emphasis is squarely on functionality. Animations are scarce and the few static pictures are mostly of the bat girl. Daigasso! is obviously a very niche title and not everyone is going to wade through all the foreign text just to experience it. Those that make the effort will find it worth their while and hopefully an English version is not too far off. Just goes to show that you don’t need gimmicky plastic peripheral to enjoy a good rhythm game.
*Review originally published in 2005.