UK REVIEW--It has long been a theory that anything can be improved with choreographed dance routines. The people at Sega are champions of this cause. , , and even manage to get in on the action. Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure, Sega's latest foray into the world of funk, is an immensely fun musical adventure around the streets of Paris, mixing various rhythm-action minigames with some light point-and-click adventuring.
6370194Dapper thief Phantom R has all the right moves.None
The game opens in true flamboyant Broadway style as hero Phantom R greets you with a dance-off. After a brief introduction, you're instantly tapping, swiping, and circling the touch screen in time to a troupe of dancers on the upper screen. Single-screen instructions appear before this (and every) minigame, removing any barrier to getting started. It's hard not to fall in love with a game that begins with you strutting your stuff atop the Arc de Triomphe.
Then the story gets going. Phantom R, real name Raphael, is Paris' most wanted thief. With cops hot on his trail, he breaks into art galleries and museums, stealing their priceless treasures and generally making a fool of Paris' most highly strung detective. He warns the law first, of course. Phantom R is all all about spectacle. After all, you can't have a dance-off without an audience. It soon becomes clear that there's a little more to Phantom R's behavior than just plain villainy, however. Aided by his dog Fondue and mysterious violinist Marie, Phantom R sets about uncovering a citywide conspiracy and foiling the plan of the recently resurrected Napoleon Bonaparte.
Minigames have you leaping, dodging, hiding, and grooving to the beat.
It's all very silly and over the top, and this gels perfectly with the style of the numerous minigames on offer. You won't just be swiping in dance-offs. There's plenty of variety, from rhythmically sneaking behind statues and tapping the corresponding colored button to the beat, to cooking broccoli and steak in time to music. There are platforming segments, as if Cameo met Canabalt, where you tap the face buttons to spring from highlighted spots. There are minigames that use the 3DS's gyro controls (and the game has the sense to disable the 3D effects during these), a few games, which would be a shame to detail in advance, are even based on existing Sega IPs. Then there's the wonderful series of violin minigames--laid out like Guitar Hero--that see you swiping the stylus back and forth in time with Marie's bowing.
Most of the minigame types are repeated, but the rhythms and forms they take are different to the point that the reuse of gametypes is never unwelcome. The music is wonderful; it's a mixture of original pieces and new arrangements of classical tunes. Action plays out on the top screen, and you have audio cues, the characters' own actions, and an optional button guide to aid your timing. None of the games are challenging enough to become frustrating, although you can purchase power-ups before each minigame that either speed your performance meter's increase or slow its decrease. If you're finding things too easy, there's also an optional feature that requires you to perfect the minigame before you can proceed.
The main flaw with the minigames is the way the scoring works. Your performance meter increases or decreases based on hitting the beats correctly. However, the speed at which this happens is so great that a few correct notes or a few incorrect notes can send you from E to A or vice versa. It's entirely possible to hit every note perfectly, miss too many at the end, and then fail. However, the games are so much fun, and the controls so responsive and accurate, that even when you do have to repeat one or two, it's never frustrating. Outside of the game, you can replay any of the minigames to improve your score, which is broken down into perfect, great, good, and harsh (missed) notes.