Trombone Champ is the magnum opus of trombone rhythm games

Tooting up a storm on the internet is the recently released Trombone Champion.

It is a musical rhythm game in which you play a trombone. Sounds simple, right?

You would be wrong. Although some of the most famous classical pieces are included, such as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Dance of the Sugar Plum Plum, and even the national anthem, no musical knowledge will save you here.

Trombone Champ: Release Date Trailer.

The story is silly (do you need to tap and upgrade to get a baboon’s approval?), but the game knows it’s not meant to be serious and plays along well. Mix that with the horribly flat notes you can produce and the Mii-style trombones and well, you’ve got a perfect pitch game.

Trombone Champ aims to emulate every part of playing a trombone. You control the pitch by sliding your mouse up and down (which was inverted by default and I had to change it right away), and you press a key when the bars move across the screen for you to play it.

This is where Trombone Champ really shines compared to other rhythm games. You can play any course at any time. A note does not need to be within range of the impact zone for it to make a sound. Trombone Champ also doesn’t stay within the confines of the usual chromatic scale we’re used to hearing in music, so you get to experience all the horrible pitch shifts you hit.

Just play a vague note.

Another thing that sets the Trombone Champ apart is the glide. The trombones can glide very smoothly across the notes, and you can do that here too if you like. If there are two successive unconnected notes that are quite far from each other in terms of pitch, you can leave the key pressed and slide the cursor towards it. As long as you have enough breath to complete the sentence, you’re good to go!

Yes, there is also a breath meter to deal with. Just like real life trombonists they have to learn to control their breathing and figure out the phrasing in a piece to know when to breathe without ruining what they are playing.

I consider myself decent in classical music. I’ve been playing the piano since I was a kid and even studied some at university, but my efforts have been… pretty dissonant. I took advantage of the warm-up which consisted of some basic scales and arpeggios, but other than that I struggled to get past a B grade on the tracks I tried.

You earn whistles for playing clues, which are then used to buy sacks. Each bag contains four cards, which are the game’s collectibles. There seem to be 50 in total, and so far I can tell you that they consist of instruments, composers, music keys, a hotdog, and a red-eyed black baboon (“one of the most powerful Tromboner cards”). You can sell duplicate cards for turds. However, I still don’t know what they are for.

Trombone Champ Bag Drop
One of my sack tosses featured Claude Debussy and the strongest baboon in history. This game also has a strange fascination with hotdogs: there are the highlighted letters on the Debussy card, and a card (no photo) just for hotdogs.

After selecting a track to play, there’s also a screen to choose your trombone, which seems to suggest a variety of instruments and orchestral sections to unlock, either later in the game or yet to be added. A roadmap published by the developer holy wow sets which updates are planned next.

I can’t help but remember Sweep Singing Nessun Dorma while playing this, i have to admit it. According to the developers, in Free Improvisation mode (where you can play whatever you want with no scoring system and no music), if you press the backslash key you can get a green screen background. If I knew how to edit videos I would definitely put Sweep in this game. Also, I’m pretty sure he’d be interested in a hotdog…

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