Tadpole Treble Encore Review
Originally released on the WiiU and Steam in 2016, the cult classic, Tadpole Treble is now back for an encore on the Nintendo Switch. But can this cute amphibian still hold a tune 5 years after its initial release?
In an industry that is packed with blood-soaked shooters and dark, mythical worlds, it’s refreshing to play something that is unapologetically innocent and charming. Spawned from the Brawl in the Family creator, Matthew Taranto, you play as Baton, a young tadpole who sets out on an adventure to explore her pond. Unfortunately, she swims too far out and is gobbled up by a pelican and dropped far from home. Due to this, you must now make your way back in this glorious, music-driven journey that will swim its way to your heart.
In each level, Baton continuously swims on a musical staff and you are required to direct her up and down in order to avoid an array of objects and collect items. Cleverly, characters, enemies, and objects are all in sync with the music-making rhythm a key component of the game. In order to hit the high scores, you will also need to tail whip sticks and drums which are positioned in time with the music, accentuating the musical extravaganza at hand. Areas are masterfully designed, ensuring that the game is accessible and challenging. Although you may be able to reach the credits in only a couple of hours, the game is endlessly replayable due, to the sheer number of challenges on offer. Each run is ranked, depending on hits taken and items collected but that’s not all. There are also Fly Challenges which task you to complete levels in interesting ways and then achieving the F-rank, which is the lowest score possible in order to receive a brilliant unlockable.
Once you have perfected your skills, you can take on the Concerto Mode. This ultimate challenge tasks you with completing all 13 stages with only one life. Have you got the skills to survive? I hit a bum note pretty quickly, but the thrill of the experience keeps me coming back for more.
Areas are diverse and so are the beautifully written musical numbers that they are based on. From glorious western melodies to hypnotic 8-bit tunes, each song is memorable and will keep you hooked. A highlight of the game is the levels that include vocals. Not only are the lyrics hilarious, but they also add to the narrative and will stay swimming around your head for hours on end. There are several musical influences on the show here and this celebration of various mediums is a truly remarkable experience that is a must for Nintendo Switch owners.
Matthew Taranto’s art style shines in Tadpole Treble Encore. Levels are distinct and take you from underground caverns to luscious sunsets amplifying the sense of adventure that Baton has been on. The characterization of its ensemble cast oozes charm and helps to build the world of this unique game. Cutscenes are delivered in comic style frames, and although the narrative is simple, the hand-drawn panels do an excellent job of conveying emotion in the absence of dialogue.
One of the most impressive aspects of the game is the inclusion of the composition mode. In a Mario Marker, or even Mario Paint style, you can create your own levels. Placing obstacles is simple, and in minutes you will be creating your own composition to swim through. With several instruments at your disposal, music enthusiasts will be able to compose their favorite tunes into a fun level in no time. My only real issue with the game is the ability to share content. Currently, it seems quite difficult to do so, but hopefully, this will be resolved. Being able to share creations instantly would make the game endlessly replayable and also provide content for those who aren’t as musically gifted as others.
Tadpole Treble Encore is the perfect addition to anyone’s Switch library. With an additional stage and new unlockables, the game does enough to appeal to fans of old and newcomers. BitFinity’s love and passion for the project are evident in every aspect of the game and they have succeeded in creating one of the best rhythm games that I have ever played.
***Switch code provided by the publisher***
- Amazing soundtrack
- Addictive gameplay
- Endearing design
- Difficulty sharing in composition mode
- A little short
- I want more songs