Official Nintendo Magazine

Log in to access exclusive Nintendo content, win prizes and post on our forums. Not a member yet? Join for free

Rhythm Thief And The Emperor's Treasure review

Professor Layton meets Rhythm Paradise in this brilliant adventure

It's usually a good sign when Nintendo takes over publishing duties on a game set to be released by a different publisher. More often than not, it means the game is of very high quality and Nintendo is publishing it so it can put its marketing force behind it to get people to notice it more. It's done this deal plenty of times with Capcom games in the past (Monster Hunter Tri, Super Street Fighter IV 3D and Resident Evil Revelations were all published by Nintendo in the UK), and now it's doing the same deal with Sega for Rhythm Thief. Does this mean it's a great game, too? You'd better believe it.

Set in Paris, Rhythm Thief tells the story of Raphael, a young boy living on his own with just his dog, Fondue, for company. What his fellow Frenchmen don't know however is that Raphael is actually the mysterious Phantom R, an eccentric criminal who steals valuable works of art. His intentions are undeniably noble: Raphael is trying to use the pilfered art to get to the bottom of his father's mysterious disappearance, and he plans to return everything later (natch) - but that, obviously, doesn't stop the narked French fuzz wanting to slap some handcuffs on him smartish.

Click to view larger image
Oh, and there's also the odd matter of Napoleon Bonaparte rising from the dead after nearly 200 years of being worm food, which for some reason is also linked to Raphael's dad.

This Lukes Familiar

At its core, Rhythm Thief can be described in one sentence: it's Professor Layton with rhythm mini-games instead of puzzles. Within half an hour it's abundantly clear that Sega's game borrows liberally from Level-5's excellent Professor Layton games, from the dialogue scenes to the way each 'puzzle' is numbered, right down to the way you tap parts of the screen to find hidden coins.

But whereas most of the time this sort of imitation would be grounds for heavy criticism, Rhythm Thief comes up with a clever way of avoiding the flak - it does most things better than Layton. The music - an already much-loved aspect of the Professor Layton games - is even better here (well, it's to be expected from a game that focuses on rhythm).

Click to view larger image
The animated cutscenes, meanwhile, are breathtaking in terms of both quality and clarity and progressing from screen to screen is much quicker and less repetitive than it is in the Layton games. Even when Raphael meets his token British partner - the lovely Marie, whose violin has a symbol that Raphael feels is linked to his dad's whereabouts - her accent is far less irritating than Luke's.

Granted, we're comparing oranges and tangerines here: the only Layton games in the UK to date have been on the DS and we've no doubt the first 3DS game, Professor Layton And The Mask Of Miracle, will raise its game significantly. For now though, in terms of overall presentation, Rhythm Thief blows Professor Layton clean out of the water.

Bag Of Rhythm

Of course, all this is just the side salad - it's the real meat of both games that's very different. While the Layton series is all about puzzling, Rhythm Thief is all about music. Sure, it has a couple of puzzles tucked away in there, but none of them are going to cause your brain too much trouble. Instead, it features 50 or so rhythm mini-games that appear at certain times throughout the story, each of which comes with its very own toe-tapping beat.

Previous 1 2 Next page

Comments

30 comments so far...
Add a comment

  1. Sonic_Freak Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 12:06

    No Rhythm Thief for me. Went to HMV to collect my pre-order, but they haven't received stock from the supplier. No other stores are selling it either. Gutted because it's my day off work today :(

  2. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 12:15

    Really want to get this but I guess nowhere sells it(apart from online) :(

  3. OrangeRakoon Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 13:01

    Would hardly call 10 hours short for a rhythm game, that's plenty longer than a lot of games out there.

    The game sounds great though, really interested in it. The first non-port to come out on the 3DS that makes me want one.

    I just hope when I eventually get a 3DS I can still find a copy of this to play!

  4. MartinIsAwesome Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 13:16

    No Rhythm Thief for me. Went to HMV to collect my pre-order, but they haven't received stock from the supplier. No other stores are selling it either. Gutted because it's my day off work today :(

    That would be because it's out tomorrow, not today.

    I loved the demo that was released, and such a positive review only cements my decision to get it. So now my 3DS shopping list consists of Shinobi, Dead Or Alive Dimensions, Resident Evil Revelations, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Kid Icarus Uprising, and now Rhythm Thief. DAMN YOU 3DS! DAMN YOU AND YOUR AWESOME LINE-UP OF GAMES!

  5. ledreppe Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 13:43

    No Rhythm Thief for me. Went to HMV to collect my pre-order, but they haven't received stock from the supplier. No other stores are selling it either. Gutted because it's my day off work today :(

    That would be because it's out tomorrow, not today.

    I loved the demo that was released, and such a positive review only cements my decision to get it. So now my 3DS shopping list consists of Shinobi, Dead Or Alive Dimensions, Resident Evil Revelations, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Kid Icarus Uprising, and now Rhythm Thief. DAMN YOU 3DS! DAMN YOU AND YOUR AWESOME LINE-UP OF GAMES!

    Actually it's out today. The official launch date has been publizised as '5th April' for some time and my copy came in this morning's post, dead-on-time :D .

    All you people who can't get it in the high street, GET IT ONLINE IN FUTURE & SAVE MONEY TOO!

  6. Aces High Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 15:30

    I'm loving Rhythm Thief (ordered through Amazon) and I'm stoked that its been so favourably reviewed by ONM. Much to even my own surprise, I've been hooked on this game ever since the excellent demo first hit the eShop a while back. I've never before gelled with rhythm based games, but Rhythm Thief's gorgeous graphics, tight controls and über-fun minigames have sank their talons into my soft under-belly and I'm now powerless to resist those oh-so-catchy songs.

    I've gotta say that not since my original Gameboy have I adored a handheld system so much, and with each solid release, I'm loving my 3DS more and more. Rhythm Thief now joins the utterly fabulous Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus Uprising, Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, Pullblox, Zen Pinball and Dillon's Rolling Western in my ever evolving 3DS game library.

    Roll on Rayman Origins, Paper Mario, Fire Emblem Awakening, Luigi's Mansion 2, Kingdom Hearts, Monst... ... ...

    Did I say I love the Nintendo 3DS??!!

  7. ninjafox Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 16:21

    I recieved my copy of Rhythm Thief this afternoon from Amazon and have only done the first part of chapter 1 but i love it!
    I have been looking forward to Rhythm Thief since i first read about it in ONM so was pleased when i recieved ONM 81 last Saturday and read Chris's excellent review praising the game. I placed a pre-order virtually strait away as i was just waiting to make sure it didn't turn out to be a let down look Doctor Laurtre. The anime cutscenes look lovely and Raphael's voice actor really seems to suit him.
    Hope other people are enjoying the game and I can't wait to play more over the bank holiday weekend to see how the plot unfolds! :)

  8. Sonic_Freak Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 16:38

    Argos.co.uk is selling the game for just £23.99. BARGAIN! Just ordered myself a copy :D
    http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Search/se ... +THIEF.htm

  9. PureAwesomeness Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 18:15

    Stupid GAME's gone bankrupt, so they won't accept my £75 gift card anymore, and I'm bankrupt!!! :cry:
    WHY HYLIA, WHY?????

  10. GoldenSun Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 18:26

    Congratulations, Sega. This is the first time I have been interested in a rhythm game. This game looks AWESOME, but I think it deserved a higher percentage then 88%.

  11. TaleOfTheToaster Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 18:36

    Normally, I wouldn't buy a 3DS game for any more than £29.99, but I feared my local supermarkets wouldn't sell this game, so I had to concede to Amazon's £32.99 price tag.

    I ordered this first class (bringing things up to a total of £35.02) last Friday, and it hasn't arrived. And tomorrow's Good Friday, so the postal service might be down.

    Greatly disappointed, I've been hyping this game up for months.

  12. Sonic_Freak Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 19:07

    Stupid GAME's gone bankrupt, so they won't accept my £75 gift card anymore, and I'm bankrupt!!! :cry:
    WHY HYLIA, WHY?????


    They're accepting gift cards this weekend. Reward cards are now fully working, too.
    Full details here:
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012- ... gift-cards

  13. Layton link Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 23:14

    oh mai god i can not wait until i get a 3ds
    first this...then kingdom hearts bbb :P
    but still this looks amazing!
    its like my new professsor layton.not that i have gone of the professor.
    i freakin loved the fourth one and it was sooo amazing and incrediably sad.
    but still iam rabbling this looooooks sooo freakin awsome!!!!!

  14. Issun2765 Thursday 5th Apr 2012 at 23:23

    WANT THIS GAME!

    Gonna go straight on my birthday list for the 19th :D

    I need this cause no 3DS game atm (yes, no Kid Icarus...yet, Star Fox and Pilotwings were meh)

    Go RHYTHM THIEF! (not trolling)

  15. Waldy565 Friday 6th Apr 2012 at 16:37

    was interested when i heard the devs were sega, so downloaded hte demo. Yeah, only got 3 and they're more than satisfying all ready. this is a no-brainer for me

  16. hazzamadazzla Friday 6th Apr 2012 at 21:02

    Congratulations, Sega. This is the first time I have been interested in a rhythm game. This game looks AWESOME, but I think it deserved a higher percentage then 88%.

    But you havent played it...

  17. bigterence Saturday 7th Apr 2012 at 08:34

    Thankyou Sonic Freak for your Argos link. Was waiting to complete kid icarus then look at getting this,but at this price it is a must have.Just ordered it.

  18. GoldenSun Sunday 8th Apr 2012 at 11:26

    Congratulations, Sega. This is the first time I have been interested in a rhythm game. This game looks AWESOME, but I think it deserved a higher percentage then 88%.

    But you havent played it...

    Remember the Demo? I played it until it ran out, because it was AWESOME!!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

  19. master sword Monday 9th Apr 2012 at 13:31

    so it's basically Layton with Elite Beat Agents/Rhythm Paradise minigames...... just take my money already

    on a serious note though, i'm finding it difficult to find a store that sells it

  20. Simon007 Tuesday 10th Apr 2012 at 16:45

    what a pathetic looking game.why would you want to play a game where all you do is tap to the music i can tap my desk in time to the spice girls but you would say that sound lame. its the the same thing!!!

  21. Gamerinari Wednesday 11th Apr 2012 at 16:14

    the shops I've been to to get this game
    GAME: They don't have it.
    HMV: They don't have it either.
    Game station: They don't have it...
    Tesco: They don't have it yet.
    Asda: They... Don't... Have... The... Freaking... Game...
    WHY MUST I GO THROUGH THIS TORMENT!? WHY COULDN'T THE SIMS 3 BE DELAYED INSTEAD!?

  22. KairiZero Friday 13th Apr 2012 at 11:51

    The demo of this was fun, I might have to go full hog and buy it :)

  23. lifetimegamer Tuesday 24th Apr 2012 at 11:37

    Nice little game, just an absolute pig to track down in stores! Ended up buying from Argos online for about £23 and enjoyed it. Hated the gyro sections though, just not responsive enough!

  24. Xenobladeperson Saturday 28th Apr 2012 at 22:01

    It's a great game, but some minigames are too hard. The flying one was pointless, it should have been a cutscene

  25. Gamerinari Sunday 29th Apr 2012 at 19:25

    naturally, the french protagonist had an american accent.

  26. Gamerinari Sunday 29th Apr 2012 at 19:28

    The flying one was pointless, it should have been a cutscene


    and they expect ppl to be able to unlock theat extra chapter by getting an A on every single minigame. i'd say the odds of managing that without using a cheat cartridge would be... nil.

  27. Phantom George Monday 14th May 2012 at 17:15

    I order you to buy this game now.NOW.NOW.Are you listning to me?This is brilliant! :D :D But there could be less times playing as Phantom R though...

  28. 1steagle Wednesday 16th May 2012 at 18:02

    looks great :D

  29. Internetakias Friday 18th May 2012 at 14:10

    The flying one was pointless, it should have been a cutscene


    and they expect ppl to be able to unlock theat extra chapter by getting an A on every single minigame. i'd say the odds of managing that without using a cheat cartridge would be... nil.


    I actually got an A rank on "Gone with the Wind", I even got an A rank on the craptacular "Operation: Power of Love"(Granted, I got it on the french version). The minigames I haven't gotten an A rank on are: "Feel the Magic" (Which is kinda ironic since I'm a pretty big Project Rub/FtM fan), "Vergier VS The Chevaliers" and "Enter Ganston"

  30. Phantom George Sunday 20th May 2012 at 08:38

    It's a great game, but some minigames are too hard. The flying one was pointless, it should have been a cutscene


    The flying one is actually quite good.But it is frustrating!!!!!

Register or log in to commment
Add a comment
Nintendo Co., Ltd. is the owner of certain copyright which subsists and trade marks and other intellectual property rights in certain content, characters, artwork, logos, scripts and representations used in this publication. All rights are expressly recognised and they are used by Future Publishing Limited under licence © 2006 Nintendo Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. "Nintendo", "International Nintendo Licensed Product" "Nintendo DS", "Nintendo DS Lite", "Nintendo DSi", "Nintendo 3DS", "Nintendo DSi XL", "Nintendo 3DS XL", "Wii" and "Wii U" and the associated logos are the trademarks of Nintendo Co. Ltd. All rights reserved.