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Game Review

Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove Mini Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

A lot less gabby

We at Nintendo Life have enjoyed the various Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove games, but so far we've tended to like them more for their charm and visual appeal than for their gameplay or for anything they do particularly well. This is a trend that goes back to the WiiWare incarnation of the series, Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix, and it's not something that changed for its 3DS retail sequel, Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove 3D.

They're games that we enjoyed, but not ones that we could bring ourselves to whole-heartedly recommend. While the visual style was a huge plus, everything else just feels mediocre. Charming, but mediocre.

That trend continues with Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove Mini. It's a deliberately scaled back slice of the 3DS title, but in this case it's scaled back so far that it feels more like a skimpy demo than it does a game. Oh, and it's a demo you have to pay for, so there's that.

While we may not have been thrilled with the ancillary features of Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove — such as an opportunity to dress Gabrielle up like a sort of undead Mii, or the extended text-only comedy routines between our heroine and some creatures of the night — we did at least admire these attempts at spicing up its own formula. We may not have come away very impressed by them, and they may have seemed a lot like simple filler meant to justify the release of a retail title, but it was at least something.

Here, in Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove Mini, there doesn't seem to have been any effort made on behalf of the developers at all. It's a menu from which you choose one of four songs — each of which will last for around a minute, so feel free to do the math yourself — and then tap, slide and flick your way through the rhythm prompts.

Even if these were great songs with very exciting tap / slide / flick sequences that would be a problem, because aside from topping the local leaderboard — which allows only three save slots, meaning your competition will always be extremely limited — there's no reason whatsoever to return to the game, and you can see everything in around 10 minutes... if you take your time.

The songs, however, aren't particularly good (with the exception of the fourth, which is a tiny fragment of a very famous classical piece...we'd tell you what it is, but since that's the closest thing this game has to a spoiler we'll keep quiet) and the rhythm aspect of the game isn't challenging at all. Each song has three difficulty settings, which certainly sounds nice, but when we scored a PERFECT rating on the hardest song at "Impossible" difficulty our first time through, it became pretty clear that acing these tunes isn't much of an accomplishment.

Little icons will appear on the top screen that let you know what to do, and there's an animation of Gabrielle dancing with some monsters from the public domain, if you're into that sort of thing. You'll tap, slide and flick as prompted, and that's about all you'll do. In each song a Thriller Time segment will be triggered, and you'll be asked to...tap, slide and flick. So much for variety. But still...Thriller Time!

Your score is based on how well you did reacting to the prompts, with combo and perfect multipliers tossed in for good measure. The song ends after just 60 seconds or so, you see your name appear on an empty leaderboard, and you're kicked back to the menu to choose another, or to sit quietly and think about what you've done.

There's no dialogue and no story to be found, which isn't a problem in itself, but there's barely any presentation either. You tap the song you want, the level starts, you age one minute, the level ends. Repeat, if you must.

With nothing else to the game, and no real reason to recommend the measly four rhythm exercises themselves, we find it necessary to declare Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove Mini dead on arrival.


Gabrille's Ghostly Groove Mini takes the idea of a streamlining to an almost satirical extent. With a measly four songs — which are each about one minute long — and no sense of challenge whatsoever, it's hard to imagine who, exactly, this release is targeting. Of course the art style, what little you get to see of it anyway, is still very charming and the simple touch screen controls work well enough. As such it's not a bad game so much as it is a game that doesn't give you any reason to play it.

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User Comments (19)



TonLoco said:

It seems like the EShop is the perfect platform for these type of mini game collections. If only someone could make a game as fun as warrioware touched for DS. How about it Nintendo?



Pichuka97 said:

Aww, I actually was thinkimg about getting this. I still might but maybe I'll find a boxed game instead.



rayword45 said:

I'll find a boxed copy for cheap now that I read this. A couple of people who I met through rhythm game communities claim this game is actually quite fun.

EDIT: You can find complete copies for as cheap as $12 nowadays, $15 if you don't wanna deal with shipping.

And the boxed copy has a reported length of 4-5 hours so I suspect that's the better deal.



Detective_TeeJay said:

I guess if the game had 10 songs the score would be 10 then? Just kidding.
Judging by the the tone of this review, I'd say a 4 is exceptionally generous.



sinalefa said:

So the Harmoknight demo is longer than this? Not to mention free.

Even the review itself skimped on the pics. Not even one for each song in the game. Still, thanks 4 saving me 4 bucks.



zipmon said:

Dang, that's a shame - maybe they should've gone with "Micro" instead?! Looks like I'll be looking for the boxed game then!

Thanks for the review, Phil!



Yomerodes said:

Selling a good demo is not shameful...after all, Capcom almost released a Megaman Legends 3 demo on the eshop for like 10 USD and everyone was mad when they cancelled it. And the Etrian Oddysey 4 demo have far more content and replay value than many sold products on the eshop, had Atlus be any other less decent company they might have asked a price for it. But, 4 USD seems outrageous for the content in this game indeed...after all the Theathrythm Final Fantasy demo for example gives you two excellent songs in three difficulty levels (the last of them particularly brutal)...for free. It is a shame that this game really can't compete against that in real terms.

My theory is that Natsume only went with the high 4 USD price tag to be able to frequently put the game on sale for 3 or even 2 USD...is a well known fact that people tend to buy impulsively games on sale just for the fact that they are on sale.



Undead_terror said:

Why not release the whole game for this price?, what that would be cheap?, alright then add a dollar to it



Scissors said:

The full retail game has enough charm to justify owning it. In my opinion if the music was a little better, and the gameplay was a little challenging this would be up there with HarmoKnights, Parappa, Gitaroo Man etc. The game is cheap now so I'd recommend giving it a chance.

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