I always enjoy rhythm games. When they’re done the right way, they can be really fun. I remember the GBA port of Donkey Kong Country having a rhythm mini game that I played more than the actual story. It was my first experience playing a game where I had to press the buttons to the beat of a song. It was super addicting. Nowadays rhythm games are becoming a lot more common. There have been some amazing titles released in the last decade or so, with great gameplay and awesome soundtracks. One of the newest additions on the Nintendo Switch eShop is Rhythm Sprout.
Rhythm Sprout is an action-rhythm game where you play as an Onion Knight trying to save the Kingdom from an evil candy army that has taken over and kidnapped the Princess. Fight your way through food-themed enemies and bosses by pressing the correct sequence of buttons when prompted. Precision is key and you must focus on the beat of the song and which button to press at the right time. You want to try to hit as many perfect notes and combos as possible in order to obtain a high score.
Using the three-button rhythm system, you will play to the beat of each song and progress through each area. Pink and yellow prompts are the most common. For pink you can hit any of the main buttons (A, B, Y, or X); and when you see a yellow prompt, you can hit any direction on the D-pad. Pink and yellow will move your character forward and attack. The third prompt is blue and is triggered when hitting the L/R buttons. Blue means defend, so not hitting these notes will cause you to lose a bit of HP. As you move forward, enemies will come towards you. The music will change a bit and this will initiate a fight sequence. Attacking and defending at the right times will lower the enemies HP. Once defeated, the music will go back to normal and you can proceed.
The gameplay itself is really fun. It’s probably one of the best rhythm games that I’ve played in a long time. I love the art style and character designs. The original soundtrack itself is also extremely good. I enjoyed so many of these tracks and how the music transitions and changes with what’s going on around you. My head was boppin’ the whole time I was playing. The story and characters are just as entertaining. Rhythm Sprout doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s a good thing. There are a lot of funny characters and hilarious dialogue to look forward to between songs. The writing reminds me of one of my favorite cartoons, The Powerpuff Girls with a hint of Wario Ware.
But if you think that Rhythm Sprout is easy because it looks “cute”, you’re wrong. This game is full of challenges and different modes that you can master. There are 30 levels to complete (including bonus levels), and I feel like I played each one at least three times or more. Trying to get a perfect score is hard enough (too hard for me it seems XD), but just trying to complete some of the later levels is a challenge in itself. And when I say challenge, I mean this will test your skills to the point of pure frustration. If you do by some chance become a master, you can go even further by trying out the mirror mode, or the even-more-insane turbo mode, which makes the notes come at you at a crazy speed.
Your score at the end of the level determines how many stars you will get. Collecting stars will unlock different skins and weapons that you can use. It’s fun to customize your little onion, but while you’re playing it’s hard to focus on anything else but the notes. I found myself having a hard time even blinking sometimes, because I felt like I would miss a prompt. Eventually trap notes are added, which makes things even harder. They’re just there to mess you up and confuse you. You can always turn beginner mode on and it makes things a little more tolerable. But it would have been nice to have different difficulty settings for each player. Sometimes I just wanted to enjoy the songs but I was ruining how good they sounded because I sucked XD
Overall, I love Rhythm Sprout. It’s a game I’m going to keep playing for a while after this review. It may be difficult and there are things it could improve on, like having a “chill” mode, for people who just want to enjoy the music. Or adding a multiplayer mode (that would be fun!). But if you’re looking for something with great music, that’s upbeat, entertaining and quick to play, I highly recommend picking up Rhythm Sprout.