Adorable art design.
Too much story dialogue, not enough dancing.
If there was ever any proof that sneezing was one of our more sinister bodily functions, Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove 3D is it. After having accidentally inhaled some magic powder, Gabrielle has managed to sneeze herself out of her own body, leaving her poor corporeal form to grow weak and cold while her spirit roams free.
Fortunately for her, help is at hand. All she needs to do is scare the bejesus out of us human folk by, er, dancing the titular Ghostly Groove to collect some screams that will make her human again. It’s hardly the most watertight of story lines, but neither was Gabrielle’s previous Monster Mix outing on WiiWare, so there’s little need to get our zombie bandages in a twist over its somewhat flimsy premise.
Less forgiveable is the sheer amount of text you have to wade through before you get to each dance. Natsume almost tries too hard to give each dance number a plausible back story, and you often spend more time tapping through dialogue than you do actually busting some moves. As with its predecessor, Ghostly Groove 3D is clearly aimed at younger audiences, but we suspect even kids will quickly tire of the game’s excessive preamble.
Once you finally get to the dances, Ghostly Groove 3D comes alive. Numbering 20 in total, tracks range from original compositions to remixed pieces of classical music, and there’s even a thinly disguised nod to YMCA in there, too. It’s a rather modest jukebox compared to the last game, but whereas Monster Mix had you flailing various limbs around with the Wii Remote, Ghostly Groove 3D has taken its dancing lessons from some of handheld rhythm greats. As you tap, slide and flick the touchscreen in time with the music and cues on the top screen, there are hints of both Elite Beat Agents and Final Fantasy Theatrhythm to be found here, albeit at a much easier, child-friendly level of difficulty.
With such a focus on entry-level players, seasoned rhythm fans will be disappointed by its initial simplicity, not least because it only takes about 2 hours to complete the main story. Cues usually always appear on the beat, requiring very little skill to hit accurately, and it doesn’t penalise you for tapping the screen when there’s no cue at all. We could also have done without the monotonous mini-games that pepper each collection of stages, as these rob us of one more dance to perform each time they appear.
There’s still some solace to be found in Ghostly Groove 3D‘s Dance Theatre, though, which lets you play each dance again with two additional difficulty levels. It’s just a shame you have to unlock them all on “Hard” before you can attempt the so-called “Impossible” mode.
Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove 3D is a fun rhythm game for kids, but it needs to work on its footwork before it enters the dancing game hall of fame. It spends far too much time chatting in rehearsal than it does performing, and even then the game’s over before it’s barely begun. If Gabrielle had a wider repertoire of steps to her name, Ghostly Groove 3D‘s worryingly high eShop price of £12.59 might have been more palatable, but ultimately it leaves us screaming for all the wrong reasons.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.