Sure, we know how good you are at Rock Band or Guitar Hero. We know you can hammer away mad riffs on “Expert” difficulty. But you know what? We’re not impressed.
And we won’t be impressed with your mad musical skills until you’ve proven that you can play a tune on Leaf Trombone: World Stage without sounding like a depressed adult from Charlie Brown.
Leaf Trombone: World Stage is the latest offering from Smule, the developer that made a splash last year with Ocarina. But while Ocarina tended to be more on the novelty side of musical games, Leaf Trombone takes the genre one step further in a fun, easy-to-play package with a truly innovative scoring system.
The title is, as one would expect, a trombone simulation. A leaf trombone, that is. But the presentation is really just secondary — like any musical game, it’s all about the tunes. The instrument itself is simple, much like a slide whistle. Sounds are generated by touching the appropriate position on a sliding, vertical scale. There also is a “blow” option, which requires the player to blow into the iPhone’s microphone to produce sound, just like a real instrument.
Make no mistake, this is harder than it seems. The leaf trombone requires precise placement of the fingers to get the correct note, which might put some with larger digits at a disadvantage. This isn’t like Guitar Hero where the notes are predetermined — the pitch of every note is all you.
Challenges are presented through a variety of songs. Leaf cues scroll across the screen, Guitar Hero-style, to prompt which note to play on the scale. The trombone can go up or down one octave by pressing the appropriate up or down button.
But the real treat is showcasing your skill through the “World Stage,” which records yours performances and presents them to a worldwide panel of three random judges. And you have to watch! It starts with three smiling faces, which react accordingly as the performance is played back. Judges have the option of providing feedback to really drive the ego check home, American Idol-style.
Many thanks to Nikki in Great Britain who had to sit through our rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, but still gave us good marks! We’re guessing the Hungarian judge who thought otherwise just hates America.
A steal at $0.99, Leaf Trombone: World Stage is one of the truly interactive musical games on the iPhone, and is most definitely deserving of any music junkie’s attention.