The Violinist of Hameln is another unique action/adventure/RPG game from Enix that was released only in Japan. Thanks to the translation efforts of fan group J2e Translation, you can now play the game in English. The plot is based on the manga (and later anime) of the same name. The story starts in the village of Staccato (the puns get worse, so don't choke ;)) where monsters are terrorizing the villagers. When a kind-hearted girl named Flute is about to be beaten into a pulp, the legendary hero Hamel shows up and scares all the monsters away... by playing a sweet melody on his violin. |
If you hate nauseatingly cute console games, steer clear of The Violinist of Hameln because it not only has plenty of cutesy characters, but the action is also decidedly non-violent: you attack monsters by playing a song on your violin, and then watching the musical notes hit the monsters. The graphics are bright and colorful, with plenty of details in both the scenery and monster designs.
Enix wouldn't be as famous as they are if The Violinist of Hameln was unmistakeably pigeonhole-able as a straight 2D platformer. And here the company doesn't disappoint. Under the hood, there are a lot of fun adventure/RPG elements. The best part of the game is Flute, the girl you saved in the introduction: as she follows you around, you can pick her up and throw her (ouch) at enemies to collect gold and break down "soft" walls. As you progress, Flute will acquire new costumes, each granting her different special abilities to help in your quest. One costume, for example, turns Flute into an ice shaver similar to a hockey puck that can be thrown and slides around (to Flute's consternation by the looks of it). Knowing which costume to use where is crucial to solving the puzzles and defeating some tougher monsters. Flute has a limited amount of energy which is required for each transformation, so you cannot use her too often.
With great gameplay, an easy-to-learn interface, and a lot of unique elements including nice classical music, The Violinist of Hameln is a fun action/RPG that you'll enjoy playing if you can stomach the cuteness of the anime characters ;) The one weakness here, like with most action console games, is that it doesn't let you save. But thanks to SNES emulators for PC such as ZSNES, you can save and restore your progress as often as you want. Two thumbs up, way up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs