Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure Review (3DS)
Take two parts Professor Layton, mix with one part Rhythm Heaven and add a splash of WarioWare antics. Now put it all on a cart for the 3DS and you’ve got yourself Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure.
What You Need To Know
Rhythm Thief follows the story of Raphael, a young boy who’s been searching for his father that has been missing for quite some time. Raphael also has the secret identity of Phantom R, a thief who has a nasty habit of stealing priceless pieces of art and then returning them with seemingly no reason as to why. The gameplay is a mixture of a point-and-click adventure to progress the story and a bunch of rhythm mini-games with amazing, jazzy-techno music to back them.
I’m going to just get the bad out of the way from the start. There are a few (and thankfully only a few) of the rhythm games that will use the gyro sensor in place of the buttons or the touch screen. Almost all of these rhythm games were broken and seemingly unplayable. There is a lack of proper instruction on how and when to tilt the 3DS and in what direction. This made one game in particular (R 31) maddening to the point that I was literally screaming at the game and eventually had to turn it off and walk away for a few hours. Luckily, there are only a few of these types of games so that it didn’t ruin the entire experience.
Crazy Bananas Story!
From the start of the game, someone has resurrected Napoleon Bonaparte from the dead and it looks to be all your responsibility to put him back into his coffin. The game follows it’s own version of French history and magical artifacts to create an amazing story that made me want to keep playing thru the crummy gyro stuff. There were a ton of plot twists and crazy near death experiences keeping me glued to the edge of my seat for the next bit of story.
The meat of the story is told through some of the most beautiful hand drawn cut scenes I’ve ever seen. They are displayed on the top screen and can be viewed in full 3D, making this the first anime I’ve ever watched in 3D. All of the caricature expressions are big and loud while the colors are bright and vibrant. The voice acting is very well done, spot on with the cutscenes, and the audio quality of the music is fantastic! One of the best features is unlocking the cutscenes and the audio tracks to watch/listen to again; which you will definitely do!
Tap Tap Tap!
During the point-and-click parts, you will have to click all over the screen searching for things like gold coins, parts of the soundtrack, something called “Phantom Notes” and even record various sounds to help create the “Master Instrument.” You will have small puzzles to solve on the touch screen to access new areas or progress the story. Though most of the puzzles were very easy, I didn’t feel they were bad in any way. I mainly liked the point-and-click parts because it opened up the game to a free environment where I could explore or just sit and enjoy the beautiful art style.
With the exception of the gyro based ones, I had a ton of fun playing the rhythm games! I thought most of them were cute and inventive, especially when you get to play the violin or fight Napoleon’s army. All of the rhythm games are different in how they’re played but they all have the same goal, keep the beat and go for a high score. If you’re having trouble beating a specific game, you can use the gold coins you’ve collected and visit the shop for something to help you through. All in all, the tunes, sound effects and twitch of your thumb with the beat will stick with you well after you’ve put it down.
I really enjoyed this game, Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure is one of the best games I’ve played on my 3DS yet and I can only hope for a sequel or an animated series. The story, world, and feel that Sega created for this game is so enjoyable that I’m sure to be playing through it again in the future!
Review copy provided by Sega
Total play time – 11 hrs.