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Rhythm games have something magical about them. Rock out hard with Guitar Hero or Rock Band, complete the most bizarre mini-games in Rhythm Paradise, or rhythmically play the thief in Rhythm Thief: it’s simple, yet very satisfying. Perform some actions on the beat and you will progress; it seems repetitive, but nevertheless there is a lot of variation in the rhythm genre. HarmoKnight, the latest project from Pokémon developer Game Freak, manages to broaden this category even more without losing the power of the genre.

Melodia is a planet where everything revolves around sound, rhythm and music. For example, crabs are actually drums, frogs are castanets, and trees are actually large triangles. In such a world, it is hardly surprising that some dark Gargan, with a body made up of sound amplifiers, endangers the peace of the planet. It is up to the boy Tempo and his companion Tappy the rabbit to put things in order and music and rhythm play an extremely important role in this.

Keep the size

HarmoKnight mainly consists of side-scrolling levels in which Tempo moves from left to right. It’s up to you to make him jump or hit him with his staff to reach the end of the level and collect as many “musical notes” as possible. Simple? Not by definition, because you will have to adhere exactly to the measure. Do you face three opponents in a row? Then you will only be able to disable them by beating them together with a certain rhythm.

The nice thing about this is that all your actions produce sound. Are you doing well? Then every jump, every stroke and every musical note you pick up forms the intended main part of the music of the level. It should be mentioned right away that the music of the game cannot be called particularly memorable, quite painful for a rhythm game. Fortunately, the gameplay manages to make up for a lot.

A breath of fresh air

The strength of the concept of HarmoKnight lies not only in its simplicity, but also in that the game leaves you free. There is not always one way to pass a level, because you regularly come across multiple paths. Perhaps you will take a route where you will be able to find many more musical notes or you will have to take a particularly dangerous path due to your clumsiness. You don’t get punished really quickly, because the game is quite simple, but at least you are not told exactly what to do. A breath of fresh air.

It is also good that HarmoKnight does not shy away from variation. In addition to the pieces with Tempo, you will also regularly work with the female archer Lyra and the macho Tyko and his monkey Cymbi. With the maid, for example, it is important to shoot opponents on time, while dodging attacks in the meantime. A few main bosses have also been added to the game, who can be beaten in a different way than the rest of the game can be played through.

Attention to detail

HarmoKnight also manages to score on its presentation. Stylish cutscenes manage to set the mood well, while the game also impresses graphically. The colorful graphics come to life because of the sharpness and the eye for detail that the game has. This ensures that the 3D effect of Nintendo’s latest handheld supports things well, because the world seems to come to life a little better.


With HarmoKnight, the Nintendo 3DS eShop has welcomed a great game. If you have even a little sense of rhythm, you will quickly fall for the charms of this very entertaining rhythm game. After Drill Dozer and HarmoKnight, we can therefore only hope that developer Game Freak, instead of keeping the focus on the unsurprising Pokémon, will definitely take more creative trips!