Trombone Rhythm Game ‘Trombone Champ’ Is The Internet’s New Absurd Obsession

Listen, if the first line of your game’s description is “Trombone Champ is the first trombone-based rhythm music game”, I’m immediately interested. I know I’m part of a niche group of rhythm game nerds, but this time it turns out it’s definitely not just me. trombone champion is currently taking over Twitter with videos of its delightfully absurd gameplay. The gruesome performances that ensue are an absolute joy to behold.

trombone champion launched on September 15, 2022, but it didn’t really take off until about a week later when the popular game store Gamer on PC took to Twitter and called the indie rhythm game “game of the year”. And, critically, Gamer on PC urged its viewers to watch a gameplay video for proof. Apparently, this same video was shared within the Gamer on PC Slack channel, where many colleagues instantly bought the game for themselves. And now, in my turn, I urge you to watch it.

(By the way, as someone who went to college for music, I can indeed confirm that music teachers don’t use the word “bad”, unless it’s a super hip jazz-funk bassist commenting on an incredibly smooth riff. “It was nasty!“etc. That’s the absolute perfect word for this game though.)

trombone champion is played by dragging your mouse up and down to find the approximate pitch of the note, then tapping to sing. Much like playing the trombone, you will quickly find that landing on the correct height is really hard. Fortunately, a badly played performance is arguably more fun than a well-played one. And it’s not just fun to play. I am now obsessed with finding all the gameplay footage from trombone champion that I possibly can.

Everything in this game is on the spot. The backgrounds and the weird characters dancing in it. Your adorable muppet-looking trombone protagonist. The song choices of real trombone directory. Rankings ranging from “Perfecto!” at the “Nasty!” The curtains, the baboons, the collection of cards from famous trombonists, including (thank goodness) Melba Liston. Everything is excellent, and for Gamer on PC to throw their weight behind this game in the same year that saw the release of freaking Ring of Elden should not go unnoticed.

This viral explosion was totally unplanned by the game’s developer, Holy Wow Studios, who took to Twitter to point out that it was mostly a one person operation. And everyone involved has other full-time jobs! The team “built this whole game on nights, weekends and holidays,” they explained. Sacred Wow ACTUALLY.

If you too want to blast your way through 20 songs of pure joy, you can purchase trombone champion on Steam. Sadly, this is only for the PC at the moment, but given the game’s sudden success, that can hopefully change. The Steam page already says USB controllers are in development, which is the most exciting news I’ve heard since discovering the world’s first trombone rhythm game.

(featured image: Holy Wow Studios)

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