Game review: Rhythm Hunter: HarmoKnight

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DEVELOPED by Game Freak, the same team that brought you the Pokémon series, HarmoKnight is one of the most charming games of the year so far.

Rhythm Hunter: HarmoKnight

£14.99, Nintendo 3DS (download only)

It’s a music-based platformer in which child samurai Tempo runs across the land of Harmonia, fighting noise-making beasts as he goes.

As you sprint through a stage you must collect musical notes, leap over hazards and hit enemies with your staff. Everything you do adds extra stings to the song track which results in some wild flourishes, while your note tally unlocks extra levels as you progress.

Tempo will eventually be joined by fellow travellers who will tag in and out of some stages, changing up the music each time. Lyra can hit enemies from afar with her harp bow and slide under traps, while brutish warrior Tyko can smack tough enemies with his hammer.

Some stages get really inventive, such as a samba dance-off with an octopus and her colourful troupe, a crazy runaway minecart ride that changes the pitch and tempo of the music, and even gruelling boss battles. There are also some Pokémon-themed tracks that play along to music from the series.

In a similar vein to Angry Birds, HarmoKnight is one of those games where you’ll want to try to constantly outdo your best scores. It’s also incredibly simple to grasp, but reveals hidden depths as you progress. Refreshingly charming and colourful, this is a breath of fresh air amid today’s sea of gritty shooters.