Well, I've decided to start a mini-series reviewing the abundance of DS homebrew that is freely available on the net, but since there are already multiple reviews for StillAliveDS, an amazing, Portal-inspired homebrew game, I figure go and give someone else the traffic for that. Therefore, I've decided to review one of my favorite homebrew series on the DS: Game Melody Oratorio Volumes 1 and 2.
Now, the idea behind the GMO series is to learn how to play memorable tunes from video games on piano. Simple, but something that can definitely be fun to do whether you're bored and want to waste some time, or want to show a little something off to some of your friends. All in all, it's very easy to both understand and enjoy the purpose of the program: to just have fun playing old VG music.
The interface and method that GMO uses in-game is one of the best, most memorable ways I've ever seen for remembering music. Once you select a song from the menu, you'll be prompted to select either "practice" or "recital" mode, the latter of which is used to test yourself to see if you really do have the tune down in your memory. In practice mode, a virtual piano is displayed on the touch screen, with how to play it on the top screen.
However, it is here where GMO works its magic. On the first play through of the song, it is played automatically with the correct notes and tempo, with the keys being played highlighted. The second time through, the correct key is highlighted. The third time through, the name of the correct key is displayed on the top screen. The fourth time through, all of the notes, in order, are displayed on the top screen. And the fifth, and final, time, the notes are displayed on the top, similar to the previous time, but some of them are blank, forcing you to remember. Using this system, I found it very easy to remember all of the tunes to the point where I can play them off the top of my head without a problem. And coming from someone who is absolute garbage at piano, this means more than you think.
Now, in Recital mode, you are tasked with simply playing the selected tune while allowed only a certain amount of mistakes. As a reward, you gain a ribbon next to that songs picture when highlighted, but the fact that you learned a retro gaming song through your DS is more than enough of a reward, IMO.
Get it now! Even though Volume Two contains both more songs and features than Volume One does, they both contain some truly memorable songs, and are definitely worth both the download and ~5 MB of space they both take up on your microSD card. Download links at the bottom.
Game Melody Oratorio Volume One
Game Melody Oratorio Volume Two