By Spencer . February 9, 2010 . 8:02pm
What would Super Mario Brothers be like if you played it with a guitar controller? Fret Nice answers that question.
While Fret Nice is designed for guitar controllers, it’s not a music game. Fret Nice is a platformer. You move left by pressing the green button and right by holding the yellow key. There aren’t many bottomless pits in Fret Nice, but you still need to jump by tilting the guitar. Once you’re in the air you can fire a riff combo, your main way of attacking puffy black balls with various appendages.
The number of eyes, mouths, and stringy tentacles are something you need to pay attention to. Each note you play targets a different body part. If an enemy has one eye you tilt, hold one note, and strum. Three eyes, two mouths, and one pink horn? Tilt, hold one note, strum three times, hold another note, strum twice, hold a third note, and strum once.
Fret Nice isn’t as confusing as it sounds on paper, but the guitar controls still take time to learn. Even after I thought I adjusted, the game feels better with a standard PlayStation 3 pad. However, once you remove the guitar controller Fret Nice loses its charm so I stuck with the guitar. I didn’t have a problem with tilt-jumping, but you can assign jumping to the red button if you prefer.
So what are the Vibrant Chordblasters doing in their cardboard cut-out world? Well, you don’t know right away. In a strange decision players have to find story bits told in newspapers and by a keyboardist hidden in the game’s levels. Figuring out what’s going on in the quirky world is one of the reasons to revisit the levels. Collecting medals by racing through the stages and blasting a certain percentage of puffballs is the other.
Fret Nice started off as a college project and the final product still feels like an experiment with the what if allure of say designing Street Fighter IV for a dance pad. It’s quirky unfinished song. Perhaps, Fret Nice tried too hard to be a regular platformer. If Pieces Interactive added an extra mechanic that made the regular controls feel like they’re missing something maybe players wouldn’t retreat to a regular gamepad.