Charming presentation, terrible rhythm games.

User Rating: 4 | Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure 3DS

1. The presentation of this is amazingly charming w/ its hand drawn astetic, beautiful music, Parisian setting and hilariously improbably storyline. All of this is wasted, unfortunately. We'll deal w/ that shortly.

2. The best thing about Rhythm Thief is its pun-y sense of humor. I cannot get enough of this stuff, folks.

3. Aside from 1 and 2, basically everything else about this game is straight-out bad.

4. As you navigate Paris, you are encouraged to looks for secrets hidden stashed away in various objects on screen. The reality of this though is the secrets don't seem to actually be hidden anything, rather unlocked by basically randomly tapping the stylus somewhere on the screen. This means for each new location, you have to tap, tap, tap every last millimeter of the screen to find everything. This is not fun.

5. While randomly tapping everything, you will inevitably accidentally tap on a character and be forced to re-skip through their dialog, so you can get back to the task of tap, tap, tapping, which as per 4, is not even fun to begin w/.

6. This is not even close to the worst thing about this game. The worst thing about this game is the actual mini-games, which are the core of gameplay. That is bad.

7. I am actually somewhat impressed by the myriad of ways these games are bad since they manage to do just about everything possible wrong at least once though, mercifully, not always at the same time.

8. For starters--and probably worst off all--sometimes the rhythm is just subtly off and it is not even off in the same way every time. Sometimes you have to be a little ahead of the beat, sometimes it's spot on, sometimes it's late. Sometimes the rhythm of the music seems to have nothing to do w/ the game. Sometimes it is easier to go by the visual cues than the music. Sometimes the visual cues are distracting and will make you fail.

9. On top of this, there are forced tilt controls on some games that require you to hold your 3DS in such a manner that nobody on earth would naturally hold their 3DS. It seems like it's just janky and busted--and it is kinda janky and busted--but you just have to hold your 3DS a particular way to make it work. At no point is this ever clearly indicated.

10. Which brings us to another issue: sometimes the mechanics of various games can be a bit obscure and they are never well explained. Most of the games are easy enough to figure out but more than once did I find myself failing repeatedly because I was playing a game incorrectly.

11. Every time you fail a game, you are forced to re-watch its intro sequence. Over and over and over and over and over....

12. There are many games that simply must be completed at a particular time or you can't advance in the story. Often, you can't even back out of the games and go do something else. You become stuck in a Sisyphean loop of busted, janky tilt controls and rewatching intro sequences until you want to gouge your eyeballs out.

13. Honestly, some of the mini-games are pretty fun. As per 7-11 though, enough of these games are busted enough to be downright infuriating and as per 12, you are forced to complete even the games you hate. There is no real breaking point in this game where I was like, "That's it, that's what stinks about this and I'm done w/ it." But all its minor flaws stack up over time in a really grating way. If you like this art-style, play Professor Layton. If you don't like this art-style, you are not exactly missing out on a stellar gameplay experience by avoiding Rhythm Thief. In short, don't play Rhythm Thief.