Dancing games have seen a huge resurgence as of late with titles like Just Dance and Dance Central leading the charge on consoles, but what about the handheld market? Yes, I know it’s not (currently) possible to bring a fully fledged dancing game over to a portable system, it just doesn’t make any logistical sense with the currently available technology but that just means that developers trying to get us moving and shaking on the go just have to get creative. This is where Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove 3D comes into play, a new rhythm/dancing game for the Nintendo 3DS. At Natsume’s booth here et E3 I got a chance to play the game and walk away with cautious optimism about the direction that it’s heading down.
Let’s start off with the positives. First, the interesting art direction from the original game on WiiWare is still intact. With its cartoony and fun atmosphere set in a world of ghouls and ghosts Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove 3D easily invokes comparisons to the Ruby Gloom TV show which I always thought of as a great kids show (hey I’m not that old). Secondly the gameplay is reminiscent of another handheld rhythm game; Elite Beat Agents for the Nintendo DS. In that game you taped and drew your way through tracks which is exactly what you will be doing this time around on the 3DS.
The game’s graphics have also received a slight overall. Now the game will feature more environments, more detailed characters and the 3D effect is also rather convincing. The game even features a proper storyline this around, revolving around Gabrielle sneezing out her soul and needing to scare enough people to get it back. Yes, it’s all very kid friendly but anyone who enjoys charming and somewhat cute game experiences over just killing and brown, hazy graphics should appreciate what’s being done here.
However I do have some reservations about Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove 3D, most of which center around the game’s soundtrack. Like in the WiiWare version, most of the songs here seem to be either creepy ‘Halloween’ style jingles or remixes of public domain songs. It would be great to see some nice, creepy original full length songs make the cut, maybe even a ‘Monster Mash’ here or there would go a long way to add to the games atmosphere.
Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove 3D is already, in demo form, a better game than the WiiWare version. The gameplay, presentation and depth are all a cut above what was offered before and there seems to be a more general level of fun to be had here than the almost ‘age-restricted’ feeling I got from the downloadable version. But the ball is in Natsume’s court now, to make sure that they take this new and interesting property in the right direction and get us all grooving on our Nintendo 3DS’. Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove 3D launches in the third quarter of 2011.
Stay tuned to gamrReview for all the latest hands-on previews from E3 2011.