When you turn on Wii Music for the first time, it introduces you to the four different gestures you'll use to play the 60-plus instruments available. When you get the hang of those, it then introduces you to the game's main draw: playing and improvising music. Forget what you know about music games -- Wii Music isn't about nailing every note and being No. 1 on the plastic-guitar leaderboard. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Wii Music is all about the notes in between. From the very first tutorial, it encourages you to play around by inserting your very own improvisations in between main-note motions, and somehow, like magic (and despite the lack of any detailed control), it comes out sounding good. You go from "third grader playing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'" to "pro jazz player jamming in smoky lounge" with just a couple of extra flicks of the wrist. After you finish your song, it gives you the option to save your performance as a "Wii Music Clip" that then adds multiple camera angles and customizable album art, which can be quite funny when friends are around. You can also save your performance for use in another mix.
Apart from the main performance mode, it has three minigames and a realistic drum mode. For those looking for something more "gamey," the minigames provide the requisite score-getting fix. You have the Orchestra Conductor game shown a few E3s ago (yes, now you, too, can be Miyamoto in a tuxedo), a four-player bell-ringing game, and a mode that gives you a series of questions that test your ability to distinguish sounds and harmonies. The drum mode, tucked away in the corner of the main menu screen, is for people who seriously want to get into drums and just happen to also own a Wii Balance Board. It has drum lessons for people who want to learn the basics and a free drumming mode for vets who just want to drum without bothering their neighbors. The controls are a little more complex than just playing the drums, so even if you do already know how to play them, it has quite a learning curve. The basic gist is that flicking the Wii Remote allows you to hit the drum, pumping the balls of your feet activates the bass drum and the high hat, and pressing buttons on the Wii Remote and Nunchuk allow you to hit the different drums and cymbals in your kit. It's pretty complicated and seems like it will take quite a long time to get the hang of it.
Wii Music is a different experience than any music game that has come before it. If you let your guard down and play the game without prejudice, you?ll be surprised at just how much fun you can have. Wii Music is due to come out October 20 in the United States.