Previews

Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure: Layton meets Ouendan?

Get your groove on. And your fedora. And your thinking cap...

This was Sega's biggest 3DS title on the show floor this year. Keen on promoting it, they were giving away free bags bearing its logo for each play.

While we loves freebies, the game itself really didn't need any to garner the attention of the rhythm-action-loving Japanese audience. Sega have gone to a lot of trouble to make the mechanics of each stage different and fresh, keeping you on your toes throughout. But this does mean you'll need to adapt quickly to new stage formulas.

The first stage had protagonist Raphael atop Paris' Arc de Triomphe copying the moves of two backing dancers by swiping the bottom screen in the same directions. The next stage turned this on its head by having him breaking into a museum, avoiding security guards by hiding behind statues. Here you had to copy one of four statue poses by hitting the corresponding pose on the bottom screen.

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The trailer showed more modes, including a platforming segment and stages using the gyro sensor to avoid hits or collect incoming items. Heck, there was even a Rock Band violin level.

Rhythm Thief boasts big-budget cutscenes that fans of the Layton series will be familiar with. And the similarities don't end there. Stages are broken up by exploration segments where you'll need to talk to strangers in the street and solve puzzles.

There's an old-fashioned hipness to the game, with its jazzy beats, clicking fingers and fedora-wearers. Its musical style falls somewhere between Parappa The Rapper and Jet Set Radio. A two-player mode is also listed, but details on it have not yet been revealed.

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