Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove was released earlier this year on WiiWare, and as an inexpensive rhythm game novelty, it was generally regarded as being a cute little game. The 3DS version of the game, however, is a full-priced release, and as such, has a good bit more expectation laid at its feet than the novelty downloadable game that came before it. While touring the Natsume booth, I sat down with one of the presenters and gave the game a spin, as much to see how far along the game has come and to see how it’s holding up as a retail release, and surprisingly enough, there’s actually a good amount of content in such an otherwise adorable product.
The first thing that’s made apparent about the game is that it’s still a rhythm game at heart, and the basic concept remains the same. Gabrielle is a little girl who sneezed so hard she completely blew her soul clean out, and she has to go to Monsterville to try and retrieve it. This is done by performing well at the various tasks set before her, as if she, for instance, dances well, she gets “Screams”Â, which are the currency by which Gabrielle can buy her soul back. The dancing mechanic is simple; tap a button on the touch screen when the spinning arrows in the circles on the top screen line up, and the closer you do this to when they line up, the more Screams you get. This is incredibly simple to play, but the on-screen action can very hectic in a short time, so there’s a lot more than just tapping the screen and moving on.
Now, of course, a dancing game on the 3DS wouldn’t be especially involved, so Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove also comes with a full compliment of mini-games. First up on the list was a game that involved helping to feed Frankenstein’s pet birds. By tapping the bird when food was coming toward it, the bird would eat, but I also had to watch out for egg shells, which prevented the bird afflicted from eating. There are also feathers to tap which will elevate the birds, allowing them to get much more food much faster for a short time. There’s also a mini-game with the wolfman character that has you following paths to find the bones of his skeleton pal by clearing brush and such from the paths you want him to use, a memory game with Vlad the vampire to find his clothes, pets and such, ALA Simon or something similar to that, among others. You can also use your Screams to buy things for Gabrielle, such as new hair styles, makeup, and clothing as you see fit, and there’s a dance theater where you can watch the dances without having to actually play them so you can just amuse yourself with the antics of the characters as you see them. There’s no multiplayer or StreetPass functionality to the game at this time, though the implication was made that it could happen… though with a month until release, it’s unlikely.
Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove is one of those odd games that is designed in a capacity such that it’s meant to appeal to the ladies in the gaming crowd, but is mechanically the sort of game that can appeal to anyone. While the dress-up mechanics are likely meant to appeal to girls, that aside, the rhythm elements and the mini-games are actually pretty fun to play with, and the game is looking like it might actually be something worthwhile for the 3DS based on its mechanics and variety. Granted, it is very cute, and you’ll have to be okay with that, but if you’re fine with a little cute in your gaming, Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove is shaping up well so far and may be one to watch out for on the 3DS.