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Last Year’s Most Ridiculous Music Game Just Got More Accessible

Footage of Old Gray Mare from the trombone rhythm game Trombone Champ

You might remember that, for a lovely moment during September 2022, everyone on social media was delightedly posting clips from Trombone Champ, a rhythm game where you play the trombone. Thing is, it’s quite difficult to do well, and the results of failure are hilarious. The game even joyfully tells you that your wrong notes are “Nasty!” It’s a gem of human invention—especially considering the developer that made it, Holy Wow Studios, is one guy.

Trombone Champ is one of those few, precious games where doing poorly is arguably more fun than doing well. However, when you do well for long enough, you’re greeted with an airhorn, and that makes anyone feel like a thousand bucks. It’s all-around enjoyable. But it was previously only available on PC. As of a surprise announcement during the September 2023 Nintendo Direct, it’s also now available on the Nintendo Switch.

The Switch is an obvious match for Trombone Champ. For one, the Switch has long since established itself as something of an indie powerhouse, and Trombone Champ was one of the breakout indie successes of 2022.

But more importantly, the Joy-Cons are the best possible controllers for Trombone Champ short of the miraculous creation of a trombone controller, a la Guitar Hero. The Joy-Cons are wireless, light, and sensitive (far from perfect on that front, but). For a change where what note you play involves moving a cursor vertically up and down a screen, it’s great. And even the Switch’s many imperfections add to Trombone Champ‘s general sense of mayhem.

Trombone Champ on the Switch even offers multiple ways to play. There are two ways to wave around the Joy-Cons. There’s a method that involves moving your hand towards and away from the heat sensor like a theremin. There’s a method where you mime a trombone. And there are buttons, which the game explicitly advises you against.

The imperfections can be frustrating, but as long as you’re in it for the choas, you’ll have a great time. And you’ll be treated to delightful and *totally* true factoids about the trombone. Did you know that a man named Michael Brass owns the world record for the number of trombones owned? He owns two.

Trombone Champ is delightful, hilarious, and very weird. Both musicians and non-musicians alike can find joy in its bizarreness. I’d argue it’s worth $15 to fall on your face during “Old Gray Mare.”

(Featured image: Holy Wow Studios)

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Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.