Title: Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix
Price: $5 (500 Wii Points)
System(s): Wii (as WiiWare)
Release Date: May 16, 2011
Publisher (Developer): Natsume (Santa Entertainment)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone”
Pros: Very cute characters, pleasant music, darkly adorable premise and unlockable costumes and faces add a little replay value. Up to four players can play at once.
Cons: Only one difficulty level for each song. Not that easy to understand what dance moves need to be performed by the icon on the bottom of the screen. Movements only have to be generally correct to register. Only one location to dance in.
Overall Score: One thumb up and one thumb down, 77/100, C+, ** 1/2 out of 5
It’s been over a year since Natsume first started talking about Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove, and now the first part of this rhythm adventure is finally here. The WiiWare incarnation, known as Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix, isn’t as robust as the eventual 3DS game will be. It’s still just as adorable though, and offers a rather simplistic dancing experience for people who want a movement-based music game, but don’t want to bother with the Just Dance series. Besides, the characters are just charming.
All zombies love impromptu dance parties
Gabrielle is the only human who is able to visit Monsterville, and she does so often to see her monsterous friends. On her latest trip, she runs into Vlad the vampire, who’s quite troubled. All of his zombie servants have disappeared. Since zombies apparently love dancing more than brains, the two get their groove on and lure some zombies back. It turns out the Dark Devil has scared away all of the zombies, and it’s up to Gabrielle to dance them back home again and find out what’s up with this Dark Devil fellow.
This means its time for more dancing. In Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix there are 10 levels to dance through in order to get all the zombies home. Each level has three zombies to lure home, as well as up to two dress-up items. This means you can customize Gabrielle between songs, changing her face, accessories and outfit. All the items are absolutely adorable. The music is fairly generic, though there are elements from classical songs in the 10 tracks.
Cute, but also quite simple
With Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix, you’re just getting the basics. It’s a rather rudimentary rhythm game with 10 nondescript tracks, each with a predetermined difficulty level, and simple controls. The background is always the same, the zombies mostly look alike and the only real motivation anyone will have to replay each level is if they didn’t get all the zombies or outfit pieces the first time around.
Of course, you’ll probably have to play each level twice in order to max out your score, as it’s really difficult to know what dance moves you need to do next. There’s no tutorial mode and the icons that scroll along the bottom of the screen to indicate which moves to perform aren’t very helpful. This means you have to watch the characters and try to match their moves. I’d recommend not watching Gabrielle and watching one of the monster companions instead, as its easier to watch their hands to know how to move. Honestly, I found it easier to play Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix if I just watched the characters and ignored the bottom indicator.
Not that it matters, as Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix is very forgiving. As long as you have your hands in the approximate area when the game checks, you’ll get credit for your position and probably get a great notification and keep up your dancing combo streak. While this may deter more serious dancing game afficianados, it means that younger gamers will have a much easier time succeeding.
Think of it as a cutely gothic, lite version of the Just Dance games.
The biggest thing Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix has going for it is that the characters are incredibly cute. There are seriously adorable zombies, vampires and mummy teddy bears throughout the game, plus Gabrielle and her constant costume changes are quite sweet as well. The gameplay’s adequate as well, which means this could be a good alternative for girl gamers who’ve had their fill of the Just Dance series. The price is right as well, but 3DS owners may want to hold off and wait for the portable and more robust version of Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove.