Review: Major Minor’s Majestic March

MajorMinorsMajesticMarch.jpg As the latest rhythmic brainchild from NanaOn-Sha and the father of PaRappa the Rapper, Major Minor’s Majestic March seemed like a shoe-in for Wii music game greatness. I mean come on, a marching band game placing you in charge of leading an adorable band of musically-gifted animals with the Wii-mote as your baton. That sounds like such a unique and refreshing idea!

And for the first stage it actually is just those things: unique and refreshingly entertaining. But boy does the game lose its mojo in a hurry. Like far too many Wii games, Major Minor’s Majestic March quickly wears out its welcome because of shallow, unresponsive controls and a general feeling of Wii waggle gimmickry.

Feline drum major Major Minor leads the way in this animorphic marching adventure, commanding his fellow band members with his trusty baton – not just any baton, but a special talking baton named GGGG (Great Great Grandma Gladiola). This entails standing in front of your TV, holding the Wii-mote out in front of you and rhythmically moving it up and down as you march to the beat (or you can just stand still if you’re that lazy). The trick is you have to keep your Wii-mote baton moving at a steady pace to keep all of your band mates happy. March too fast or too slow and your band will dwindle in size, and if you lose your entire crew it’s game over.

As you march through the game’s seven measly stages, you’ll see power-up boxes and eager bystanders lined up along your path, and as you pass them by you can flick the remote left or right to activate the power-up or add the bystander to your band. By performing well you can also enter Drill Mode where you have to shake the remote as fast as you can in indicated directions to fill up a box and make your band perform special drills that boost your score.

Unfortunately, these simple remote maneuvers are incredibly boring to perform and, worse yet, aren’t very responsive. To make matters worse, the music is mostly forgettable, and in general I never felt that my baton waggle movements were truly impacting the musical performance. To me it just felt like I was marching like a doofus watching a parade of monkeys, pigs, puppies, sheep, tigers, goldfish and sunflowers scroll across the screen blaring out generic marching band tunes.

I hate to pile on, but the game is also ridiculously short-lived. It took me no more than 20 minutes to complete the tutorials and seven story stages, I kid you not. You do unlock harder difficulties and multiplayer modes after that, but when the game peters out well before you’ve completed your first play through, going back for seconds and thirds becomes a test of how much boredom you can endure before throwing in the towel.

I give NanaOn-Sha credit for thinking outside the box and at least trying something different, and I have nothing bad to say about the charming artistic work Rodney Alan Greenblat put into the project, but unfortunately as a game I just can’t recommend it.

Young or old, Major Minor’s Majestic March is one march you shouldn’t take.

SkipIt.jpg

Pros:
+ Colorful art style and adorable characters
+ It at least tries something different

Cons:
– Shallow, one-dimensional gameplay
– Unresponsive controls
– Short in length and devoid of replay value

Game Info:
Platform: Wii
Publisher: Majesco
Developer: NanaOn-Sha
Release Date: 4/2/09
Genre: Rhythm/Music
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1-2

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!