Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Tadpole Treble Encore is a musical adventure through a staff bar stylized world of water. As you embark on an orchestral adventure, you will swim through songs, some vocalized and some orchestral, as you guide a tadpole on a short yet sweet journey back home.
Tadpole Treble Encore sees you guiding a recently hatched tadpole on an adventure down a mountain, after getting scooped up by a pelican. You will avoid hazards such as rocks, piranhas, and …Barracudas, which sadly didn’t get a Heart cameo. Nevertheless, Tadpole Treble Encore is filled with a solid soundtrack to go with the little tadpole’s adventure.
The premise behind how TTE works is really simple: make it to the end of a stage without dying. Your adventure is on a 2D staff bar, where you will be scrolling across. You can move up or down “notes” on the staff bar in order to collect bubbles or food, hit reeds, dodge obstacles, or hit these yellow orbs to send you flying. That’s about it really, and you do all this to the tune of the music that happens to be playing.
Now there are additional challenges, such as collecting all the bubbles or having a perfect run, but those are optional objectives. Collecting bubbles will unlock different rewards, such as hints to some of the hidden objectives or a bestiary of creatures you meet, food will heal you, and reeds will give you score for hitting them. Something to note is that hitting something is done before you reach what you want to hit, not really while you are on top of it, which is something that took me a little getting used to.
In addition to the wonderful musical accompaniment, Tadpole Treble Encore also has a rather unique art style, reminiscent of old comic books. At least the non violent kid friendly ones. This art style makes everything look at least slightly cute or friendly, even the piranhas, especially the puffed up one. This art style and comic book type of storytelling really gives a more younger audience feeling, and is good at drawing in those who may be newer to the gaming scene.
In addition to the standard story mode, there is also two more main bonus modes. The first is a Concerto mode where you play through all the songs in a row, and you have to clear it without dying. The other mode is composition mode, where you get to make your own stages. While pretty basic in the design and implementation, all three of these modes provide something for you to enjoy in a musical way.
While what Tadpole Treble Encore offers is certainly inviting, it is by no means without issues. The main complaint you may have is how short the game is. I wasn’t particularly timing it, and I did replay a few stages, but I completed the game in about an hour or so, so don’t expect some massive sixty hour JRPG type story mode going on here. That being said, what you get is pretty fun. Gameplay is simple, but can occasionally get a little cluttered depending on the song/stage that you’re playing through.
It can get a little difficult at times to keep track of where the bubbles and rocks are coming from. Additionally, there is a sort of score indicator that pops up above rocks you pass, which kept drawing my eyes away from watching what was coming. Getting the right timing for the attacks to actually connect how you want takes bit of getting used to as well, as you have to attack earlier than I was expecting.