A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure is a music and puzzle game suitable for older elementary school kids. Most of its rhythm-based activities -- hiding behind statues, bounding across rooftops, cooking food -- are completely innocuous. A few involve cartoonish violence; speedy jabs in time with a beat. None of the characters get seriously hurt. Note that this game supports the 3DS StreetPass wireless communication feature, but that personal information is not exchanged. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.
What's it about?
Players take the role of Raphael -- known as \"Phantom R\" -- in RHYTHM THIEF & THE EMPEROR'S TREASURE, a collection of music-based mini-games and puzzles bound together by a mysterious story about a teenage boy who meets Napoleon Bonaparte in modern-day Paris. The game's loner hero is a thief who spends his time locating and pilfering relics for a purpose that only becomes clear as the game progresses. Things start to get interesting when he meets a mysterious girl being chased by France's famous dead emperor, who has seemingly been brought back to life. Players navigate the historic city's streets, moving from one famous location to the next while searching for collectibles by tapping on the screen. Along the way they'll encounter several musical puzzles and scores of quick rhythm games that have Raphael dancing, battling bad guys, and even tossing treats to Fondue, his canine sidekick.
Is it any good?
Among the better music-themed games available for the Nintendo 3DS, Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure has a delightfully quirky personality. Part of its charm comes from its characters, whose distinctly Japanese flair melds surprisingly well with the game's realistically rendered Parisian locales. The original music, which ranges from jazzy numbers to more modern, pop tunes, is equally engaging and catchy to boot. But the real reason to play is the rhythm games. Whether players are tapping the screen on cue to kick and shoot soccer balls or swiping left and right to play a violin, these quick tasks are reliably fun and pleasantly challenging.
One beef is that the stretches between rhythm games -- typically filled with dialogue and Professor Layton-style exploration -- are sometimes a little too long. The game needs more rock and less talk. Also, the scoring is a smidge wonky, with more weight placed on the more difficult sections that come at the end of each rhythm challenge. Failing an activity simply because you missed the last few beats can be a bit frustrating. These two blemishes aside, Rhythm Thief is a music game fans of the genre won't want to miss.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about music and music games. Are you interested in learning to play an instrument or become part of a band or choir? Which kinds of music are you most passionate about?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Arts: dance, music, rhythm
Social Studies: geography, history
- Skills: Self-Direction: self-reflection, set objectives
Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
- Price: $39.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Sega of America
- Release date: July 10, 2012
- Genre: Music & Dance
- Topics: History, Music and Sing-Along
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Cartoon Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.