Musicverse is part of a growing list of non-games appearing on the 3DS – and for me, it’s a welcome sight.
The Musicverse app has a fantastic layout that is easy to read and simple to learn. Frankly, it feels like the old Casio I used to have, and with a few more features thrown into the mix for good measure. A couple of pages of instruments give you plenty of melodic variety to play around with, and some nice features like locking your notes to the beat can make your compositions sound as wonderful as possible. However, if you’re looking for multi-track recording (i.e. lots of instruments at the same time), Musicverse isn’t for you.
I ran into some limitations pretty early on, as you can only record a single melody per piece. But the big thing to remember is that Musicverse is a simple app. If you want multi-instrument recording with lots of voices, you’d need something that takes hours to learn and you can never master (Here’s looking at you, Korg DS). Frankly, I did found the limitations of the app liberating – not having to worry about big, complex pieces meant I could focus on smaller, tighter compositions and I had buckets of fun doing it.
Musicverse comes with a pretty cool set of backing track options for your melodic endeavours. You can choose from a pretty wide range of styles, such as “Dance” or “Symphonic Rock” to play behind your melody line Through a set of little buttons on the left of the screen, you can cycle through 8 chords for the backing track to follow. I was able to set these to pretty much any chord I could think of, so don’t worry about not having the right notes.
However, be careful when checking for mistakes! If you need to go back and re-record a bar, it will erase everything after it – so be careful! It’s not a huge problem, but something to keep in mind none-the-less.
Ultimately, what Musicverse provides is a simple keyboard lacking some high-level features seen in this other music apps on the eShop. However, this feels like an intentional choice on the part of Abylight, and their decision to focus on a polished basic keyboard that is simple to use and fun to create with feels like the correct one. Musicverse is fun and easy to usem with almost no barrier to entry. The inclusion of a short training video is wonderful. Anyoine can pick it up and create something cool and unique with almost no training.
Here are a few example pieces I did in-app, just to see what it’s capable of!
If you’re looking for a quick composition tool, or something to hone your child’s interest in music, the app is an amazing alternative to going out and buying that full-size keyboard (or trying to cart it around on the bus!). I’d highly recommend this app as a starting point for any lovers of music, with your more complex synthesizers like the Korg series on the DS and 3DS providing the next step when you outgrow Musicverse.
- Easy to use and to learn
- Great variety of instruments available
- Ability to use almost any chord in backing tracks is fantastic!
- Great social sharing capabilities
- No multi-track composition
- Sometimes backing tracks can be a bit limiting in their variation
- You can't re-record a single bar - it's everything forward or nothing