Trombone Champion asks a very simple but radical question: What happens if you play the trombone?
If you have already played Guitar Hero or Rock Band games, then you know how challenging musical instrument rhythm games can be. Trombone Champion takes a similar tack but for the magnificent wind instrument, and instead of rock music, will play bona fide hits like Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” literal Beethoven, and “The National Anthem.” (He tries to get those melodies out of your head). This rhythm game launched a week ago, but really started taking Twitter by storm on Wednesday after PC Gamer discovered it.
The game is quite difficult. Use a mouse to slide the shade up or down; you need to press the pitch box accurately, then hold down the mouse button or a keyboard key for the correct amount of time. Here’s the kicker: the slider moves in the opposite direction, up and down, of how you move your own mouse. It’s a small difference that’s disorienting enough to make it difficult to play songs, especially at the speed the rhythm game demands.
Luckily, the game is much more fun when you’re not playing it really well, as the trombone plays its sweet toot-toots according to the notes you’re playing. All of this happens on top of the actual backing track, with your trombone playing the main melody, as if you were creating your own version of Matt Mulholland’s recorded version of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Titanic.
Difficulty varies by song, with some requiring you to jump jerkily across the screen and others requiring you to slide down while holding down the note. Play nice and you’ll get a “perfect” or a “pleasant” answer; mess it up and the game will proclaim it “nasty”. No matter the case, these songs only get harder to play through blinding tears, or in my case, while drooling with laughter.
As PC Gamer pointed out, these renderings are only enhanced by the game’s choice of visual background for each awesome selection. The US national anthem is accompanied by an image of the US flag, which then transforms into a stack of money, before finally giving way to a giant burger and fries combo meal superimposed on top. PC Gamer also rightly points out Trombone Champion as an immediate contender for GOTY.
A similar strategy applies to “God Save the Queen”.
Trombone Champ is literally the only game I wish I had made. He is absolutely out of this world god level. Shit.
— Liam Edwards ⛳️ DAMN TO PLAY GOLF NOW ⛳️ (@LiamBME) September 21, 2022
In this writer’s humble opinion, there is no song that can’t be made better by a lousy trombone. (Who am I kidding? There’s no such thing as bad trombone playing in the music world. Trombone Champion. We are all champions here.)
You can also play using the Steam Deck’s gyro controls, if for some reason you’re looking for an extra challenge.
Guitar Hero may have “hero” in its name, but the real heroes are all of you, posting these Trombone Champion clips Please never stop.