Trombone Champ is the magnum opus of rhythm games for trombone

The Trombone Champ just went up an internet storm.

It is a musical rhythm game where you play the trombone. Sounds simple, right?

You would be wrong. Even though some of the most famous classical pieces are included, like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and even the national anthem, no musical knowledge will save you here.

Trombone Champ: release date trailer.

The story is silly (you have to whine and improve to get a baboon’s approval?) but the game knows it’s not meant to be serious and rolls with it. Mix that with the horribly flat notes you can produce and the Mii-esque trombones and well, you’ve got a perfect game.

Trombone Champ aims to imitate every part of playing a trombone. You control the pitch by dragging your mouse up and down (which was reversed by default and I had to change immediately), and press a key as the bars move along the screen for you to play it .

This is where Trombone Champ really shines compared to other rhythm games. You can play any land at any time. A note does not have to be within range of the strike zone for you to produce a sound. Trombone Champ also doesn’t stay within the confines of the usual chromatic range we’re used to hearing in music, so you can experience all the awful off-key tones you hit.

Just hitting a negative note.

Another thing that sets Trombone Champ apart is the glide. Paperclips can slide through notes very easily, and you can do that here too if you want. If there are two successive notes that are unconnected and quite far apart in pitch, you can hold down the key and drag the cursor towards it. As long as you have enough breath to complete the sentence, you’re fine!

Yes, there is also a breath counter to contend with. Much like how real-life trombone players must learn to control their breathing and understand the phrasing of a piece so they know when to breathe without ruining what they’re playing.

I consider myself decent in classical music. I’ve been playing the piano since I was a kid and even studied a bit in college, but my efforts have been… quite dissonant. I nailed the warm-up which consisted of some basic scales and arpeggios, but other than that I struggled to get past the B note on the tracks I tried.

You earn toots for playing songs, which are then used to buy bags. Each bag contains four cards, which are the collectibles of the game. It looks like there are 50 of them in total, and so far I can tell you that they consist of instruments, composers, music keys, a hot dog, and a red-eyed black baboon (“one of the most powerful Tromboner cards”). You can sell duplicate cards for shits. However, I don’t yet know what they are used for.

Trombone Champion Bag Drop

One of my bag drops included Claude Debussy and the strongest baboon ever. This game also has a strange fascination with hot dogs – there are the highlighted letters on Debussy’s card and a card (not pictured) just for hot dogs.

After selecting a track to play, there’s also a screen for choosing your trombone, which seems to suggest a variety of instruments and orchestral sections to either unlock later in the game or add to. A roadmap published by developer Holy Wow indicates the next planned updates.

I can’t help but remember Sweep singing Nessun Dorma while I’m playing this, I have to admit. According to the developers, in Free Improvisation mode (where you can play whatever you want with no rating system or music), if you press the backslash key, you can get a green screen background. If I knew how to edit a video, I would definitely put Sweep in this game. Plus, I’m sure he’d be interested in a hot dog…