Who made it?
Game Freak. "Wait, you mean the Pokémon guys?" Yep, it's the Pokémon guys, but don't worry, there are no pocket monsters here. Just vibes.
What's the premise?
The world of Melodia is under attack by Noizoids who have kidnapped the princess of Symphony City, Ariana! Hmm, a world under siege and a kidnapped princess? Is this ringing any bells?
Fortunately in HarmoKnight, you literally have to get those bells a-ringing. This isn't just your standard platformer, this is a rhythm platformer, so you have to run, jump and attack to the beat of the world around you if you are to make it through each toe-tapping level.
Like all the best rhythm games, the soundtrack is the real star here, but there is enough in the story barrels to keep you playing level after level without fatigue.
Why should I play it?
It is always a pleasure to play a non-Pokémon game from Game Freak. The team knows its stuff about catching and battling, but it turns out that there is much more in the bank besides (who would have thought it)!
It sounds obvious with a game in this genre, but HarmoKnight really is elevated by Minako Adachi's brilliant score, which is like a warm hug of childhood bliss while you jump to collect musical notes and swing your legendary staff to clear the path ahead.
There is a cartoony visual style which might be off-putting to some, but we found that it suited the tone of the game down to a tee. Combine that with a comic book-inspired approach to cutscenes, and HarmoKnight is a title packed with style.
This is a game that reels you in with a simple control scheme (the tutorial lasts for just a number of seconds) before exposing you to levels of varying difficulty where you will have to learn to master the button inputs to make it through increasingly challenging rhythmic tracks. It's the kind of game where you will begin by thinking that you could play it in your sleep only to very quickly find that you have a lot to learn.
There is a great Iwata Asks interview on the game — always a good sign — that you can also check out for some light reading in-between levels. What's not to like!?
How much is it?
$14.99USD / £12.99 / 14,99€. It's a game where you get out as much as you put in, but a price like this cannot be scoffed at for the hours of gameplay available from the get-go.
We'll be back soon with another 3DS or Wii U eShop recommendation as part of this 'Countdown' series. Let us know below if you've already got this in your collection and share your thoughts. Also, feel free to nominate other games — we just might highlight those in the coming days, too.