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Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove 3D - 3DS Review

Game Info
Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove 3D

3DS | Natsume / Santa Entertainment | 1 Player | Out Now (North America)
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13th February 2012; By Patrick

Earlier last year, Natsume released
Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix for WiiWare. A dancing game with a cute aesthetic, the goal of the game was to introduce the new IP of Gabrielle to the world. Now, with her first major game debut, Gabrielle is back in Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove 3D. Originally designed for the Nintendo DS and then remade pre-launch for the 3DS, is this title scarily good, or does it fall flat on its face because of two left feet?

    The premise of Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove 3D is fairly simple and childish, yet still very amusing. Gabrielle has managed to sneeze her soul out, and both her spirit and that of her cat, Lola, travel to the world of Monsterville. Story is told between every song, and is usually comprised of Gabrielle helping out monsters in Monsterville, or vice versa.

    You see, in order to get Gabrielle back home to her worrying mother (her body is still in bed and unconscious), you need to collect enough Screams to leave. Screams are the currency of the game, and while you don't exactly have to 'pay' to finish the game, you do have to pass every song in the story. You get screams by...wait for it...dancing. Once you get past that initial suspension of your disbelief, you will be boogieing your way to victory in no time.

    Dancing is, as expected, in the form of a stylus-based rhythm game. For the most part, circles appear on the top screen and you have to touch the bottom screen (in approximately the same place) to the timing of the rhythm. Other techniques get added in later such as sliding along a given path or flicking the stylus, but for the vast majority of notes you will simply have to tap. I don't know how, but the idea of tapping in approximately the right place works far better than expected, with me never experiencing one problem during my entire time playing the game. This works great, as you are focused solely on the upper screen where the animations and beats are located. The songs themselves are either unique, or remixes of famous tracks (Ode to Joy, for example).

The story took me approximately two and a half hours, but I was reading the text very quickly and consistently getting A's on all the songs. Interspersed throughout the Story Mode are four mini-games that become unlocked for free play once you complete them. Going through the Story exposes you to every song in the game, however the only difficulty you will be able to play through them on is Easy. Once you complete the story, you can play through Hard Challenges (play through the songs on Hard, needing a B or higher to pass), before taking Impossible Challenges, which are the same as Hard Challenges but on the highest difficulty. Being designed for both gamers and casuals alike, the difficulty never ramps up too high, but that does not have any effect on the enjoyment this game provides.

    GGG3D uses mostly purples and blacks for its theme, which help set the tone as "lighthearted and cutesy, while trying to be slightly 'spooky'". The 3D effect is also used excellently in this title, providing tangible depth to the world and allowing the character's 3D models to come to life. Not only is the theme and presentation of the game very enjoyable and pleasant to be around, but the gameplay itself is quite addictive and fun as well.

    The game offers a robust collectible system as well. By getting to certain points in the game, you unlock the ability to purchase clothes from the in-game shop (for Screams, of course), which can be used to customize your character. This is a fun diversion, but since some of my favourite costumes are the ones that you get at the very end, I was constantly changing my costumes throughout. Another thing that you can do in the shops is use a vending machine for items called "Monster Badges", which is a miscellaneous collection system introduced towards the end of the story. The latter might just be for completionists, but it does encourage you to visit the shop often.

    Once you are done with the main story and are going through the difficulty challenges, the game has one final story for you in the form of a picture book. It's short, silly, and inconsequential. However, it shows that the developers really thought about what people would want to do after completing the main story. Even though I didn't care about the second mini-story that much, I still found myself becoming excited whenever it told me that I had unlocked a new page, and so I would say that their mission was completed successfully in my eyes.

    Even if you are not a sucker for overly cute things like I am, you should definitely give Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove 3D a try. Even with only 20 (great) songs, there is a lot to do. And as I always say, if your biggest complaint is that something is over too soon, then it must have been great content to begin with!

25/30 - Very Good

Gameplay 9/10 - Excellent rhythm game design, control scheme seems weird at first but works flawlessly, mini-games offer up variation on gameplay
Presentation 8/10 - Cutesy presentation, great music, pleasant to be around, 3D gives environments and characters tangible depth and life
Enjoyment 5/5 - Very fun to play, pleasant atmosphere, somewhat silly story yet still fun to read, addictive and easy to come back to
Extra Content 3/5 - 20 songs each with three difficulty levels, extra collectibles and character customization, small extra story after completion

Equivalent to a score of 83% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by Patrick

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