6370206Phantom R scares with style.None
Rhythm Thief doesn't just funnel from one minigame to the next, though. The majority of the game takes place on the streets of Paris, and navigating is almost identical to the way you explore in the Professor Layton games. On the top screen is a map, and on the bottom is a 2D screen showing the current area you're in. There's a lot to do around Paris beyond dancing. Talking to non-player characters occasionally gives you the opportunity to take on bonus challenges, and tapping around can produce medals, which are used to purchase in-game cutscenes you've already viewed or the aforementioned power-ups. There are also two major side quests in the game. The first, Phantom Notes, requires you to piece together scraps of a musical score by finding notes hidden within an area. The second, Master Instrument, has you recording sounds from the environment and playing them back to a shopkeeper so he can construct the ultimate musical instrument.
The sound recording mechanic comes into play during the main storyline too, because you often need to rouse NPCs by playing the correct sound. These puzzles are never difficult, but they often involve amusing scenarios such as finding a chicken, recording its cluck, then using it to wake a sleeping professor. There are also brief timing-based puzzles, which usually revolve around unlocking something and have you tapping a button in time to the beat. These are certainly nothing remotely challenging, but they're entertaining nonetheless.
Perhaps the biggest downside in this adventure is the amount of to-ing and fro-ing during the exploration sections. Often you find yourself running back and forth across Paris in pursuit of a bit of information or another character, but Rhythm Thief spaces out the minigames too much. Traversing the city is easy and painless, but it often feels as if Sega artificially extended the length of the game. Too often you reach your goal only to be told to go somewhere else, then somewhere else, with nothing much to break that up. Running around is easy enough, but it's not necessary.
Music can conquer anything, even Napoleon apparently.
Unlike Professor Layton and its ilk, Rhythm Thief doesn't throw challenges at you that frequently (there are 50 full minigames in total, including the bonus ones), but it manages to have enough diverse content that it doesn't become repetitious. Outside of the story, there's Marathon mode, which lets you play certain game types until you fail, and StreetPass functionality lets you test your skill against minigame times set by passersby, with the winner obtaining a new NPC for his or her city.
There's a lot to love about Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure. The occasional plodding sections do little to stop the game from being an endearing, joyful experience. Beautiful 2D cutscenes and some great 3D effects make this a visual treat as well. Phantom R struts around Paris with style like Layton and moves like Jagger, and it's impossible not to be won over by this glorious mixture of music, mystery, and excellent rhythm action.