Fret Nice Preview
The world of plastic instruments is growing rapidly and has already garnered millions of fans worldwide. But they probably aren’t aware that such controllers won’t be limited to only Guitar Hero and Rock Band in the future; no, Tecmo is taking things a step further and giving you your music/rhythm fix in a whole new way. The game is called Fret Nice and it’ll be a downloadable title that is a combination of a platformer and a music-based game, which you will indeed play with a guitar controller from either of the aforementioned franchises. It’s no surprise that other developers are looking to capitalize on the immense success of the music genre this generation, but this is the first time we’ve seen a breaking of the mold, so-to-speak. If you’re wondering how the hell you might play a normal platformer with a guitar in your hand, read on and prepare to be intrigued, especially if you enjoy the concept of originality.
So, get the guitar you’re likely familiar with firmly affixed in your head…got it? See what it looks like? If you need further visual aid, go snag it before continuing. That green button on the neck will be used for moving your character to the left, while the red button will move you to the right. The yellow button in the middle will jump and the strum bar is used to climb up (and down) ropes. This may sound a tad daunting, as you’ve never played anything like this before, and you may be reminded of the very first time you held the SNES controller and was forced to look down at the gamepad for a while before knowing where X and B were. But take heart. There are only four buttons to use here, and besides, your fingers have moved much faster – and on more of the buttons – on that guitar in the past, right? Of course, if you don’t want to use the guitar controller, you don’t have to…but you’ll be missing out when the music portion comes into focus.
Perhaps the most interesting part of Fret Nice is how you play. You will encounter a variety of zany creatures as you progress and you actually have to keep an eye on their appearances. For example, if a monster has one eye, you need to play a single note of your choice to vanquish it. If it has two eyes and a mouth, that’s two notes and then a different note…get it? Just think of the possibilities; you might end up facing bosses with 24 eyes or something! The music you play will also match the background music so you’ll have the benefit of a rhythm to accompany your playing, and like other music-based games, you’re adding more notes and riffs to the song with each successive enemy encounter. Essentially, missing will be like missing a note when playing Guitar Hero and it’ll consequently mess up the song. Right now, we’re picturing a crazy, colorful setting with creatures you’ve never seen before, along with a continuous string of tunes supplied by your “attacks.” Weird, but cool.
You will be able to play with two players if you so desire, and you can also combine controllers. One of you can use the guitar for a more intuitive feel with the “battling” while the other can use the standard controller to make the platforming aspects a bit more familiar (and as a result, easier). You will definitely have to work together at all times, though, as one player can’t get too far ahead of another, which is standard co-op fare, anyway. For the most part, we’d like to think Fret Nice would be equally entertaining on a solo or co-op run, simply because it’s so very unique. As a downloadable title, it’ll be great for those who already have one of those plastic guitars in the home and last we checked, that’s a lot of people. Heck, we even like the idea of playing it with a regular Dual Shock 3; there’s always plenty of innovation and freshness in the downloadable realm. Expect to see Fret Nice hit the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Arcade some time next year.
10/1/2009 Ben Dutka