Wii Music is the anti Guitar Hero/Rock Band. (And that’s a good thing.)
It won’t teach you to play an actual instrument, but you make actual music, and it encourages you to “color outside the lines”.
It just came out yesterday, so I’ve only seen a small fraction of the game. So far it’s all rhythm, but not in the silly/arbitrary way that Guitar Hero, and games of its ilk are.
Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution, PaRappa The Rapper, etc. are all popular games… and I hate them all. Well, PaRappa The Rapper at least has great Rodney Alan Greenblat graphics, so I only half hate it.
These games are simply test of hand/eye coordination and timing. They have as much to do with music as Play-Doh has to do with painting. The missus complains that Guitar Hero is training an entire generation to think guitar is played with five buttons and a strum bar. If just one kid doesn’t take up a real guitar because they obsessed on Guitar Hero, that is a real shame.
Wii Music lets you play 60 different instruments (so far I’ve seen piano, guitar, trumpet, violin, and bell). It will also use the Wii Fit balance board to let you play drums. Using the oh-so-intuitive Wii remotes, you mime the motions of playing the real instruments.
You can play the notes on the metronome beats as designed, but if you don’t, that’s fine. It will do its best to make it sound good. If you’re a little off the beat, it’s syncopated. If you play extra notes, it improvises. Some “jams” will sound better than other, and the more creative you are about it, the better it will sound.
As the Maestro puts it, “And don’t worry if you didn’t play it perfectly, because there’s no one way to play a song… There are millions of ways! Countless, even! Just have fun expressing yourself!”
There are minigames to play (a little more Rock Band than I’d like), but the main activity is the jam. You can jam with up to four players, but if you’re alone, there are “Tute” who will act as session players to help flesh out your sound.
You can save jams to play back later, and share them with your friends online. There appears to be a significant online aspect to the game.
The best part is on the main menu, there’s a band that plays the theme music made up of various Miis. Right now I’ve got “Weird” Al Yankovic on saxophone, Peppermint Patty on bass, me on drums, and Terrence (of South Park fame) on violin.