It’s nearing February, with a balmy 55 degrees in normally-frigid Boston, and the number one iOS music game in seven countries is a comic-fantasy-Guitar Hero-style game starring the reanimated corpse of 18th century Polish composer Frederic Chopin, as he does battle against the fictional villains of modern music: techno, reggae, and country remixes of his waltzes and piano nocturnes.
Between the weird weather and that development, we’re more convinced than ever that nothing in this world is ever really certain.
Plenty of apps have applied the Guitar Hero/Rock Band concept to the touchscreen, but we have a hard time getting excited for those, because much of the “cool factor” of those franchises lies in the guitar-shaped controller. However, the Frederic – Resurrection of Music app, with its over-the-top premise, reinvigorates what was fast becoming a tired genre in gaming.
It might be the only rhythm game I’ll ever play on my iPhone.
Frederic – Resurrection of Music is also not entirely a waste of time. It replaces the usual colored buttons, which have no correlation to any real world instrument, with a virtual ebony-and-ivory keyboard, so you could conceivably learn to play all of these songs on piano through this game alone. (You can also purchase the soundtrack on iTunes, if you’re in the market for a new earworm.)
The game begins as a dazed and pallid Chopin is visited by three Greek muses: Nētē, Mesē, and Hypatē. Besides bestowing Frederic with a golden piano and magic chariot to assist in his battling of the game’s nine bosses, the muses repeatedly shush him with the word “piano” (which music nerds and Italians will recognize as another word for “quiet”).
The muses then take their leave for a more pressing engagement — doing a greek salad commercial for a “famous and influential fast food chain” on which, in these modern times, their careers depend.
Then it’s time to confront your first challenger: a French electronic artist, who threatens to process you into sample bait for his cyber-banjo. Clearly, you have no choice but to engage him in a duel. The game contains nine songs in total, and nine bosses to face, with difficulty levels ranging from Normal, to Hard, to Chopin.
Making this app more bizarre, which we frankly didn’t think was possible, the publisher promises to give away a five piece set of diamond-encrusted white gold jewelry, which was commissioned to commemorate the bicentennial of Chopin’s death, to the person with the high score on Apple GameCenter (which can track your scores in iOS games). Curiouser and curiouser.
Adding to our amazement: This isn’t even the first video game to feature Frederic Chopin as a playable character. Eternal Sonata, a Chopin-themed role-playing-game on Playstation 3 and XBox 360 beat Frederic – Resurrection of Music to the punch. Still, at least as iOS games are concerned, we don’t expect to see anything as odd or charming as this game for quite a while.