comScore Weekend Getaway: HarmoKnight | The Mary Sue

Weekend Getaway: HarmoKnight

Featuring games you can finish in one weekend!


Video Games are wonderful, but they can also be very, very long. Many of us simply don’t have the time to play massive games like Skyrim or Minecraft for hundreds of hours, no matter how badly we want to.

That’s why every week, here on our new series Weekend Getaway, we’re going to recommend a great game that you can finish in less than 10 hours, free of spoilers, and discuss it in the comments below. This week’s game is the obscure rhythm platformer HarmoKnight.


Available on: 3DS

Length: Around 5 hours

You probably know Game Freak as your lord and savior; the studio that blessed you with the wonderful world of Pokemon and very little else. In the last few decades they’ve only made a handful of games outside of the Pokemon series. HarmoKnight for the 3DS is one of the few very exceptions, and it’s one of the handheld’s best digital games.

In HarmoKnight you play as Tempo, a young boy who lives on the magical, musical planet of Melodia. After a meteor bearing the evil Gargan and his Noizoids crashes near Tempo and his rabbit companion, Tappy, they embark on a journey to to deliver a magical staff to the princess of Symphony City. Along the way our two adorable heroes are joined in their quest by the archer Lyra, a barbarian named Tyko and his monkey friend Cymbi. In other words; It’s a pretty standard video game plot, but with an overabundance of music puns. As cute and charming as it is, the story isn’t why you play HarmoKnight – the gameplay is.


Harmoknight is equal parts endless runner, platformer and rhythm game – and it mixes the genres wonderfully. As you run through the musical levels, you create a song by jumping over obstacles, collecting floating music notes and bashing enemies. The timing can be tricky at first, but it soon becomes second-nature as you gain an understanding of the musical queues. Each of the game’s thematic worlds introduces new enemies and mechanics so it never starts to feel stale. Some levels have you take control of Lyra or Tyko, while others stick Tempo in a vehicle or on the back of a friendly dolphin. These levels mess with the formula just enough so that they feel different without making you relearn hot to play the game.


This game may look cute, but it is very fast-paced, and at times very very challenging. Your performance is graded at the end of each level with a bronze, silver or gold flower, so replaying levels to beat your previous high-score becomes incredibly addictive. Depending on your level of anal-retention, getting a perfect score on every stage can eat hours and hours of your time – but you can easily see the whole game in less than 5.


Each of the game’s worlds is punctuated by surprisingly epic boss battles. The boss stages replace the static camera movements found in the standard levels with sweeping cinematic shots that make terrific use of the console’s 3D screen. If you’re looking for a game to test the enhanced capabilities of the New 3DS, you couldn’t do much better than this one.

Oh, and Have I told you that this game is adorable? Because it is. The animated cutscenes are reminiscent of children’s picture books and the memorable characters make big exaggerated expressions during gameplay. I suppose a healthy dose of squees should be expected from any game made by the people who created Pikachu. And speaking of Pikachu! After you completing the story you unlock 5 Pokemon themed levels, and they are some of the best (and most difficult) stages in the game.


Despite its high-profile developer and great critical response, HarmoKnight flew under the radar when it was released. It remains a hidden gem on the 3DS Eshop just waiting to be played by anyone wanting to embark on a challenging and addictive musical adventure.

HarmoKnight is available as a digital download on the Nintendo 3DS and all of its variations, and it is currently available as a reward on Club Nintendo. Score!

David Ochart (pronounced Oh-Chart) is a freelance writer and social media manager. He loves loving things, and he spends much of his free time advocating his favorite things with an almost evangelical fervor. He spends the rest of that free time guzzling tea and scouring the internet for gifs. He can be found at and others @DavidOchart.

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