Fist Pumping Through Major Minor's Majestic March

On its surface Major Minor's Majestic March is very simplistic, but then again so was Parappa the Rapper. And that's an apt comparison. Both games were created by Masaya Matsuura and both feature bright cartoon characters drawn with bold, clean lines.

Instead of tapping out a rhythm on a controller, as players did with Parappa, Major Minor's Majestic March has players setting their own tempo as the Drum Major of a marching band. That may not sound like a big difference but what it means is that it takes the control away from the game and allows gamers to dictate how they want to play. The key to the game isn't rhythm as much as it is consistency.

To play the game you hold the remote facing you and then pump it up and down in your hand as if you were holding a baton. The faster you pump it the faster your band moves and the faster the music plays. As you march along predetermined routes special power-ups and negative items pop-up on the screen. To grab them you have to swipe your controller left or right as you pass the items. You also pass a number of would-be band mates who can be tagged into your band.

The key to te game is to keep your rhythm steady while paying attention to what you want and sometimes have to swipe.

If you march too fast some of your band members might get exhausted and mess up your music and if you go to slow you might not make it up the steeper hills.

The final game will ship with seven levels, each broken up by rest periods, and additional modes including a straight forward multiplayer mode and a father and son mode which allows one player to keep the temp and another to swipe for people and items.

The game will also support bands of up to 80 members, which each of their instruments playing on a separate track.

Playing around with an early build of Major Minor's Majestic March was fun for a time, though also fairly wearing on the arm. The one issue I did have with the game was that the swiping recognition didn't seem as tight as it should be. I was told that they developers were still working to finesse those controls and recognition.

This is one of those titles that could get the sort of fan base that Parappa landed, but I think it's far to early to tell.