Sim Tunes is an excellent way for people, especially children, to learn music. It is somewhat complicated for a young child to learn but is a good game for anyone in third grade or higher. It reminds me of a musical Light Bright game.
The game is very creative and uses instruments in the shape of bugs (known as "bugz") and colored dots for notes. Each bug has its own light animation when it crawls over a note. To make music, you click on a paint color and place the paint dot in the path of the instrument-bug associated with the note you want to play. There are different "bugz" and different types of each instrument.
Another feature included by Maxis are "bugz" that make vocal sounds. Once the player becomes more advanced, he or she can choose different shapes to go along with their own music or even paint their own. This is a terrific game that allows children to express creativity by personalizing art and music as well as learn instrument notes and familiar tunes. They will also learn placements of notes and rests. And, of course, children love playing with the cute "bugz."
Adults may have to help children with the instruction manual as it is a bit hard for a child to understand, especially when just learning music. On the other hand, what better way to teach a child and spend time with him or her? Some of the vocal notes are funny, so it will allow you and your child to giggle together.
Because the player can create his or her own art and original music, the game has plenty of replay value. When the child grows older, however, he or she may well discard it for more advanced games, especially after a loss of interest that will likely come after mastering the music. One positive note: players may get to experience instruments in this game to which they may never actually have access.
The graphics are excellent with many choices of instrumental and vocal "bugz" and instruments are fairly faithful to actual instrument sounds.
Graphics: "Bugz" are very cute and look like the instrument they represent. Excellent use of color and the movement is very smooth.
Sound: This is what it's all about.
Enjoyment: This game is very enjoyable and it makes learning music a whole lot of fun. A child's creativity is allowed to blossom.
Replay Value: A child may eventually outgrow the animation and playing with bugz in exchange more more advanced musical programs. He or she can create their own music and graphics which allows for a high replay value.
SimTunes is based on "Music Insects", an interactive audio-visual exhibit which was designed and created by Toshio Iwai in 1992. Iwai's original, Music Insects is a very popular permanent exhibit at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
SimTunes is an interactive 'painting/music/simulation' game. The user paints colored squares on a virtual grid, where each color maps to a tone in a musical scale. Then the user unleashes four little 'bugz' to roam around on the painted grid. Each bugz has an instrument or vocal style associated with it, and when it walks over one of the squares of light it 'plays' its sound at that tone. The user can control the scale, the instruments, and the speed and direction of the bugz, creating an interactive musical experience.
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