Rhythm Game Roundup: Theatrhythm, Museca, CHUNITHM, Hello Kitty, Samba de Amigo

I haven’t been able to get out much so far in 2023, so getting my hands on the usual fare of rhythm games has been a little more difficult recently. Thank goodness for Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, which is extremely likely to stick in my top games of the year and may even land as my favorite game release of 2023.


I spoke on my experiences with the trial version that launched back in February, and this demo served to prepare me well for the full release – there isn’t much more I can expand on outside of telling you the game is packed to the gills (Gil?) with content.

From the preview of Theatrhythm:

While the player’s focus will be heavily gravitating toward the rhythm game markers, there are underlying RPG mechanics at play in Theatrhythm. Successfully hitting notes and striking certain commands unleash attacks on enemies, and a meter builds so a summon can enter the battle and do additional damage on your behalf.

I’m sure there is a lot more in play in the full release, but I felt the feedback on the battles wasn’t as evident as playing a rhythm RPG such as The Metronomicon. I discovered additional user interface elements in the expanded options menu, and this gave me more information on what is going on in the battle. The expanded game display features real-time data on the number of enemies you have defeated, and damage dealt along with a rundown of your note ratings.

Regardless, the mechanics still come together great, and there is a lot of tinkering possible to customize your party in ways that take advantage of enemies being weak to certain elements or even healing yourself as much as possible to give you an edge in a song you might be having difficulty clearing.

Thankfully, as more characters and abilities come into play with the full version of the game, the RPG aspects loosened even more. The expanded character abilities have made developing teams more of a “game within a game,” and there are a lot of character inclusions that should make most fans of Final Fantasy happy.

I believe I’m closing in on the 40-hour mark on Theatrhythm while taking progression on in a slow pace. I’ve been trying to save all of my quest play for my live streams, and I’m barely past half way in the overall progression.

Theatrhythm may be the most content-packed rhythm game I’ve ever played, tasking the player to unlock songs, characters, abilities, collectables and summonstones, while giving a multitude of quests and including an online mode.

I gave the online mode a very brief go when the game first launched. I found it to be extremely straight-forward, but the developer managed to salvage this a little bit with the ability to grab extra summonstones and cards in interactions with other players.

As I said, I’m only about 50% of the way through this game, but it’s included in my daily Nintendo Switch rotation. At this rate, I’ll probably be enjoying this game through most of 2023.

BashCon this year gave me my single chance so far in 2023 to get out and play on a couple of music game arcade cabinets.

This reunited us with the GemuBaka favorite Museca from Konami, as well as allowed me my first real chance to sink a sizable amount of time into SEGA’s CHUNITHM.

With my amusement pass cards in hand, this visit allowed me to sink my teeth into Museca’s mission mode for the first time. This mode pits players against a number of challenges with the chance to unlock avatars to be used in future missions.

Each character represented in the avatars has a class, and these can be matched against each other to exploit weaknesses that allow you to unlock a new avatar a little easier. Extended play also allows the player to level up these avatars to make them stronger and eventually gain abilities.

It really doesn’t mess with the standard gameplay of Museca, but there is quite a bit of content in the form of challenges here.

CHUNITHM was a game I was able to play for the first time back in 2020 at the C2E2 convention, but March marked my first opportunity to prop the camera and create content for the game.

CHUNITHM is controlled entirely by a touch sensor, but there are also sensors above this panel that recognizes when the player raises their hands. The big gimmick in this game then comes in the form of commands that ask the player to quickly raise their hands after an input or holding them in the air briefly for extended notes.

I’ve quite come to like SEGA music games over the years (our first GemuBaka experience came in the form of MaiMai), as these games come packed with songs from SEGA games. This has also expanded over into Atlus’ catalog, along with a number of other guest song appearances.

CHUNITHM is a fun experience, but in marathoning this game through the day, my fingertips took an absolute beating. I may have to wear gloves if I get the chance to spend time on this machine again.

Still, the game offers a lot of unlocks and progression if you have a compatible amusement pass card. CHUNITHM likewise has selectable avatars that can be leveled up to unlock abilities, so being able to record your progress is extremely valuable.

As we move forward into 2023, I noted a couple more rhythm games that have caught my attention.

The first might be a little unexpected, but I started seeing press items for the upcoming Hello Kitty and Friends Happiness Parade.

I’ve always liked the Hello Kitty character, but very few people know that I am a big fan of Sanrio’s Badtz Maru character. I have a small collection of Badtz Maru items in my office (some of which is possible thanks to a close friend of mine), and I actually own the Hello Kitty Roller Rescue game for Nintendo GameCube on the premise that Badtz Maru is included.


The first press release I saw caught my attention merely because it was based on Hello Kitty, but it really grabbed my interest when it was announced to be a rhythm game on top of that.

It appears Happiness Parade was originally introduced as an app, seeing as there are Apple and Google app listings for it, but the information for this upcoming release indicates the game will have 20 new tracks exclusively for the Switch download.

Not much is expressly described about the gameplay, but preview videos show the franchise characters marching down a playfield in time to a song while dodging obstacles and collecting coins. There appears to be character abilities and customization elements as well.

The game was intended for release on April 13, but it was announced just prior to that date that the game has been delayed. The notice states the delay is being made to ensure the game polished and ready to go, which is never a bad thing.

The press items issued online state a new launch date will be announced soon, but the Nintendo eShop has issued an “estimated release date” of May 25. Unfortunately, with the delay, it seems a lot of the promotional items for the game have since been taken down. The game is added to my Nintendo wish list, so I’ll cross my fingers and hope for the best on this project.

Lastly, SEGA slides back into the spotlight with another rhythm offering on Nitnendo Switch with the revival of Samba de Amigo.

I played quite a bit of Samba de Amigo on the Dreamcast, but with the stock Dreamcast controller. I was able to eventually get a third-party maraca controller from a friend, but it has basically been packed up in storage since that time.


I recall the maraca controller not being all that accurate even when the products were brand new, so this new Nintendo Switch version might check all of the boxes to ensure an authentic experience this time around.

This entry is being titled Samba de Amigo: Party Central. While the basics seem like they are an extension of the original title released around 20 years ago, it looks like extra efforts are being made in offering online competition and customization items.

The base product is offering 40 songs, and post-launch DLC is planned. Interestingly enough, the Dreamcast Samba de Amigo also offered downloadable DLC, and, so far, SEGA has done nothing to let us know if we can play the Burning Rangers theme song in this new version.

Regardless, I think I’ll be checking this version out when it releases in June.

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Categories: GemuBaka Preview


Arcade enthusiast and game collector. Affiliate Twitch retro streamer and games archive writer at Gemubaka (http://gemubaka.com). For business only: gemubaka at gmail


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  1. | Fifteen Years of GemuBaka!GemuBaka - May 20, 2023

    […] on top this, I was starting to experiment with early streams before work and putting in time on Theatrhythm: Final Bar Line on Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, I just finished packing my Nintendo Switch up into a box because it needs serviced […]

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