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Game Info:

Old School Musical
Developed by: La Moutarde
Published by: Plug In Digital, Playdius Entertainment
Release date: September 13, 2018
Available on: Switch, Windows
Genre: Rhythm
Number of players: Up to four players
ESRB Rating: E10+ for fantasy violence, mild blood
Price: $12.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you La Moutarde for sending us this game to review!

I’m a sucker for rhythm games and when you add good writing and plenty of video game nostalgia, I’m sold! Old School Musical tells the tale of Tib and Rob who are stranded on a remote island with their abusive mother. Tib is older, shorter, and significantly smarter than Rob. Despite Rob’s antics, they make a pretty good team and promised each other that they would escape off of the island together one way or another.

Due to a glitch infesting the island, they eventually escape and discover that it’s up to them to save the universe. The story mode has twenty areas to discover and several songs/levels to complete in each one. There are over fifty catchy chiptune tracks and you can buy the soundtrack on Steam if you like it. If you’re cheap you can just replay your favorite levels/tracks in the arcade mode. Multiplayer plays just like the arcade mode except that all of the players share the same health bar. If you decide to play with friends, make sure that they know what they’re doing or you won’t be able to survive through the song. Each song/level can be played in easy, normal, or hard mode. I beat the game on normal and couldn’t survive on easy playing alongside my rhythmically-challenged son.

Old School Musical
Highlights:

Strong Points: Funny writing; catchy music; fun gameplay; lots of nostalgia
Weak Points: A shared health bar for all players in multiplayer
Moral Warnings: Violence and blood shown; alcohol references; Rob makes a comment about offering a sacrifice to a demon; cross-dressing

The controls are fairly intuitive as you have to press the appropriate arrow button when the same color/directional arrow aligns with the circle icon in the middle of the screen. Oftentimes, rectangles will appear on the screen and you have to press the corresponding shoulder button when the floating rectangles line up. If you’re familiar with Dance Dance Revolution games, you’ll feel right at home here.

Once the story mode is completed, a new area called the Chicken Republic becomes available and adds fifty levels with various handicaps to make things interesting. For example, there’s a drunken setting that makes the background wavy as you’re playing. This can be rather disorienting. Sometimes the floating arrows will have lens flare and will become harder to distinguish between single press and arrows that need to be held down for a few seconds. Another mode switches the color palette to one similar to the original Game Boy’s. This makes things trickier for those who press the buttons by color instead of by the directional arrow.

Old School Musical
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 78%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 9/10
Sexual Content - 7/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7/10

The Game Boy’s color palette isn’t the only nostalgia you’ll find in this title. Many of the levels are inspired by gaming classics like Cruis’n, Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, Mega Man, Metal Gear, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tetris, Zelda, and more. I immediately recognized the Tetris theme song, but the other levels had fitting music even if it wasn’t original.

The writing is top-notch and the humor is great in this game. While there is cussing it’s pre-censored with symbols instead of the actual words being shown. Some blood is shown in a drawing depicting the mother whipping Tib and Rob with a barbed whip. Additionally, Rob makes an offhand comment about offering a sacrifice to a demon. Tib reprimands him for that one. Last but not least, there is some unavoidable cross-dressing in one of the levels. Of course, the dialogue is pretty funny for that scene.

Despite not being impressed with the multiplayer game mode, I enjoyed the rest of my trip down memory lane in Old School Musical. The asking price is a reasonable $12.99 and I highly recommend it for those who enjoy rhythm games. There are some moral issues to consider, but overall this game is pretty tame. I’ll consider picking up the soundtrack when it goes on a Steam sale.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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