Fret Nice

Fret Nice

Fret Nice

Don't fret.

Being a platformer controlled with a guitar peripheral, Fret Nice presented me with a unique problem: which one to use? The trusty old Guitar Hero 3 Les Paul? The sunburst World Tour Strat? The limited-edition Band Hero one with metal pegs? Or the ridiculously lifelike Logitech deluxe one made out of actual wood and metal, which I got as a somewhat extravagant present last year? I've got so many of these damned things lying around now that I'm desperate for new uses for them.

I'm glad I didn't pick the wooden one, now, because after three levels of Fret Nice I got so vigorously angry trying to tilt the controller to jump that I actually hit myself in the face with it, which might have resulted in losing my front teeth if I'd been using the Logitech behemoth. Fret Nice is the first game to cause me personal injury since Mario Party when I was 10, which gave me a massive blister on my right palm from furiously spinning the N64's horrible analogue stick in a Shy-Guy-related minigame. This is indicative of how unbearably frustrating Fret Nice's guitar-based control system is. It's a likeable musical platformer ruined by controls that are broken enough to provoke accidental self-harm.

This is particularly disappointing because Fret Nice not only attempts something new, but it does so with artistic flair. Initially, thanks to its attractive aesthetic, the game comes across really well. It has the collage look of LittleBigPlanet, as well as the distinctiveness of LocoRoco and Patapon's blobbly, spindly-limbed, monocular enemies. Collectable musical notes colourfully adorn the cardboard cut-out landscapes, and unusual, vaguely Katamari-esque music keeps you floating along on a cheerful cloud. You guide the Vibrant Chords, a rock duo with extravagant hair, through lovely 2D platform levels either alone or in co-op, conquering strange enemies with guitar solos.

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