Nintendo Switch’s music rhythm games thus far have been stellar editions to the console's library. Whether it’s the raw power of Thumper or the serene ambient songs of Deemo, the genre fits the hardware well, using either the touchscreen or traditional inputs, and with Frederic: Resurrection Of Music, developer Forever Entertainment bring a fresh take on a selection of songs by renowned classical Polish composer Frédéric Chopin to the console, after previously releasing on iOS, PC and Wii U.
Our titular pianist hero has been brought back from the dead as a savior to rid the world of soulless, mass produced pop stars sapping music of all its creativity. With the help of a miniature piano and a golden flying horse-drawn carriage, Chopin travels across the globe to duel it out with opponents by playing remixes of his own music and restore peace and decency to our musical tastes.
Bonkers story notwithstanding, Chopin duels it out with 12 wacky musical villains of our time, all providing a tidbit of exposition as to why he was brought back as he goes. The exaggerated handdrawn style and vivid color schemes add a distinct identity to each location, from the streets of downtown New York to the green fields of Ireland. There are even a few sly popular culture nods scattered around for extra humor. There is over an hour of fully voiced animated cutscenes utilising the larger than life characters, even if the voices vary in quality and the scenes themselves do outstay their welcome on occasion.
The new versions of Chopin’s compositions are mostly enjoyable. While the original song titles themselves might not be exactly memorable, there some more recognizable work to mainstream audiences, but some genre choices don’t quite fit. A particularly interesting highlight is Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor (better known as ‘The Funeral March’) played as a bluegrass ditty against a surly county sheriff that raises as many eyebrows as it does smiles.
There are initially nine songs and four difficulty settings on offer here, but going from easy to normal (and beyond) is not only a fairly sizable jump- on easy, it is almost too forgiving, while completing a song on the hardest setting is brutally tough and requires a lot of practice. Cascading notes fall in a Guitar Hero like fashion, and a successfully timed press will fill the bar at the top green. When it's full, your foe is beaten.
In addition to using the obligatory touch controls, the seven piano keys are also mapped to face buttons. While on the left Joy-Con, left, up and right, with Y, X and A mapped to the right, the centre key is curiously assigned to ZL. This is functional, if not ideal, and takes a fair bit of getting used to (so much so you might be more likely to resort back to touch controls). This in turn brings another issue, as upon filling the orange gauge on the left-hand side of the screen, Chopin will be able to use a special attack. This is triggered by pressing both of the shoulder buttons at the same time. If you are holding the console in one hand, its okay, but playing in tabletop can make this a hassle. Since the amount of time you have to use it is brief, it turns in to a 'catch 22' of jeopardising your combo or missing out on a devastating blow.
Upon completion, you’ll get a breakdown of your ‘musicality’. A pretty standard three star rating system, an accuracy percentage and combo count. A defeated foe will confess all and it is on to the next location. The animation and hand-drawn style are bold, quirky and fittingly eccentric, but the ratio of gameplay to cutscene is so disappointingly even it's hard to ignore.
Frederic: Resurrection Of Music has plenty of personality to its name, even though the lack of content stops it from being the headline act when compered to other genre titles on the eShop. Still, seeing maestro Chopin coming back with a magical piano to play remixes of his own work and battle against rapper gangsters is certainly an interesting angle. The overall presentation visually is decent, even if the voice acted cutscenes are cheesy and overly long. An intriguing curio that simply needs more content considering the asking price.