Super Rare Games Brings the Rhythm with Old School Musical

Monday, August 24th, 2020

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Not too long ago I extolled the virtues of Super Rare Games. I still maintain that they offer a great service that helps bring deserving Switch games to physical formats. But this time they’ve truly done something special. They took a game that is relatively unknown even to most niche game fans and helped it blossom into an even better product. That game is none other than Old School Musical. I would love to take credit for discovering it, but it was first brought to my attention by a great PR firm. I hadn’t heard of it prior, nor was I familiar with the diabolical French genius of La Moutarde. I really enjoyed Old School Musical when I reviewed it a couple years ago. Honestly, only one thing held it back – it was just a digital release. Now thanks to Super Rare Games, that’s no longer the case. And thanks to them providing me with a copy to review, I can once more share how awesome Old School Musical is!

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First, a little background on the game itself. Old School Musical is a rhythm game that pays homage to classic video games. It features really simplistic yet attractive artwork, and is focused on heroic brothers Tib and Rob. Their mother has gone missing, and they set out to rescue her. That itself is a small miracle, given how traumatic their childhood was. But nevertheless they set out, and find themselves confronted with that most insidious of video game features – glitches! They soon come across a portal that leads to a space station, which itself has yet more portals to other worlds. Thus begins their quest to save mother, all while being beset by dangerous and often hilarious glitches. Some of the games they parody include Mega Man, Metal Slug, Star Fox, Metal Gear Solid, R-Type, The Legend of Zelda and much more. Not only do the brothers take on appearances that conform to the universe they arrive in, but they fight to the music! One favorite moment involves the brothers flying a spaceship to Tetris inspired tunes while confronting a giant head that looks a bit like Andross.

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Your job is to hit the notes flying frantically across the screen while the brothers prance around. The notes come fast and furious, and there’s a variety of types. Some require a simple press, others have to be held and some use the trigger buttons. It’s not that complex, but it can get pretty overwhelming. Thankfully there’s different difficulty settings, so you should be safe playing on Easy. But even then, get ready, cause the game ramps up bit by bit as you make your way through the Story mode. Though that mode is definitely my favorite, featuring some laugh out loud humor and deranged situations, there’s more to Old School Musical. Once you’ve beaten the game, you unlock The Chicken Republic. That mode is basically a mental exercise of what would happen if the fowl Link constantly harasses got intelligent, built weapons and fought back? Though you do briefly go to the Republic during the Story mode, there’s a huge section that’s skipped over. Thankfully that section is the primary bonus content in the game.

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The main draw of The Chicken Republic are the modifiers. You aren’t just playing against the music here, you’re also playing against dirty tricks. Notes will shrink, the color will disappear, things will speed up and slow down unexpectedly, and chickens will even rain from the sky to distract you. By far my favorite modifier is when the shirtless man starts dancing in the middle of the screen. It’s utter insanity, and it’s a big reason I love Old School Musical as much as I do. That said, the modifiers can get irritating at times. Thankfully you’re able to play any song you’ve beaten and unlocked in the Arcade mode later, without those pesky modifiers.

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There’s actually one more element to Old School Musical I have to cover, and that’s the DLC. It got two packs, each one focused on a new artist. First was Toricity, by a Japanese musician that makes music on Game Boy. Then there was MV Expo, by another crazy French man. I really love the songs in both of these DLC packs, but I do wish there were more of them. Each DLC only has 5 new songs, which brings the grand total of songs in the game to 60. That’s not a ton, but there’s a good variety of talent. And though you might think this game is short and sweet, those that want to take their time and relish the music are welcome to do so. Mostly to get higher scores, but still it’s a nice incentive.

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Now, that’s a whole lot of talk about why I love this game. But Super Rare Games makes it even better as a physical game. There’s just something special about being able to hold a game box in your hand. Like their other releases, Old School Musical comes with a pack of random cards, a sticker and a manual. Unlike the last Super Rare Games product I reviewed, this one isn’t actually an instruction manual. It’s a tiny artbook, which is a nice touch. Given how simple the mechanics are for the game, it wouldn’t have made much sense to devote multiple pages to explaining things. But as a fan of the retro style of the title, I’m happy to flip through and check out the art.

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Super Rare Games has really outdone themselves here. I loved Old School Musical before, but this is a perfect pairing. It’s the crazy fun of La Moutarde mixed with the pristine packaging of SRG. It’s a reason I’ll continue to support this storefront, and pick up any cool games that deserve more attention!

Super Rare Games | Old School Musical

 

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.