Feel The Music
Rhythm games in the US are mainly confined to rock instruments and dance pads with the occasional outliers like taiko drums and maracas. Anything else—like Chunithm— is typically only seen in Japanese arcades.
Frederic: Resurrection of Music is a piano-based rhythm game which is centered around the music of Polish pianist Frederic Chopin. Each piece you play is a remixed version of Chopin’s originals which may interest some and offend classical purists, but the musical styles all fit well into the context of the story.
The quality of the story in Frederic: Resurrection of Music is not what kept me playing this game. I don’t expect much from a story in a mobile game to begin with, but it’s nice when they at least put forth an effort to make the level progression make sense. There’s a short video at the beginning where you see a mysterious stranger revive Chopin from the dead. From there you travel around the world in a flying gold horse-drawn carriage to major cities like New York, Paris, and Tokyo where you “battle” musicians. It follows the same formula where you encounter someone, “battle” them, then when you win the defeated musician reveals they were paid off by the mysterious stranger. It’s repetitive to say the least and has some hit or miss humor.
While the story leaves much to be desired, the gameplay is what makes Frederic: Resurrection of Music the best rhythm game I have played on the Switch. The touchscreen controls are stellar, and the only times I ever made mistakes were thanks to a flub on my end or just a lack of ability. I haven’t experienced any touchscreen integration like this before on the console. Frederic: Resurrection of Music somehow makes you feel like you can play piano even if you’re piano neophyte, like me. Since this game isn’t a battery hog you can make it through all the levels in the game at multiple difficulties before needing to recharge.
Playing in handheld mode is the only way to play Frederic: Resurrection of Music, because using the controller is almost unplayable. The button layout is unintuitive, and you completely lose the immersion you get from using the keys directly on the touchscreen. I started out using the joy-con, and after a few minutes I promptly set the console on my lap and never went back. I feel like I did the game a bit of a disservice to not try the controller a bit more, but rhythm games are made much better when the controls correspond to the simulated actions (see Guitar Hero, Rock Band).
My biggest gripe with Frederic: Resurrection of Music is the cultural appropriation of just about every group of people they showed. Oddly enough the only culture that wasn’t diminished to a parody of itself were the Polish, which makes sense since Forever Entertainment are a Poland-based developer. The most uncomfortable I felt was in the early game when Frederic went to Jamaica and encountered a local. This native of course—like all Jamaicans—had dreads, a rastacap, and a giant blunt. The scene was slightly saved by how bad the voice acting was for this character. It was so awful that if you weren’t seeing a bastardization of what a Jamaican person is on screen then I wouldn’t have been able to tell what kind of voice they were going for.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Frederic: Resurrection of Music was provided by Forever Entertainment.