Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure - 3DS

Release Date:

July 10, 2012

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.


Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure is a Parisian adventure that proceeds through a series of beat-based minigames. Pattern-matching puzzles and other rhythm games challenge you to tap the touch screen, slide the stylus, or tilt the handheld to the beat of the background music. The story follows an affable young art thief named Raphael, who is notorious for stealing famous works and then returning them a few days later. Players guide him on his quest for an unusual object, called the Wristlet of Tiamat, which may resolve mysteries behind the disappearance of his father.

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  • Developer(s):
    • Sega
  • Publisher(s):
    • Sega of America
  • Release Date(s):
    • July 10, 2012
  • ESRB Rating:
    • Everyone 10
  • Mode(s):
    • Single-player
  • Local Play:
    • Vs 1-2 Players
  • Download Play:
    • Vs 1-2 Players
  • StreetPass:
    • Yes
    • .Collect fans via StreetPass.
  • 3D Mode:
    • Yes
  • Not Compatible:
    • Internet
    • SpotPass

Technical Information

  • Average Playing Time:
    • 22 Hours
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'Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure' is a Nintendo 3DS video game developed by Sega. Looking to cash in on the popularity of eccentric, anime stylized, titles the team was eager to get something on the shelf. A burgeoning franchise, 'Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure' brings a whole new world of entertainment to handheld consoles everywhere. The game seeks to employ rhythm based mechanics that utilize everything that the 3DS has to offer. The game released in American in January of 2012 for the 3DS before getting an offshoot release for iOS systems everywhere about a year later.

In the game you play as Raphael, a kid living in Paris who has lost both of his parents. Raphael's mother has passed away and his father has vanished without a hint of where he has gone or if he ever plans on coming back. This lack of conventional childhood has turned Raphael into one of the pre-eminent art thieves in the entire world, with Paris as his crowning jewel of exploit. Raphael goes by the name of Phantom R when he is working a heist. When Raphael isn't busy stealing from the upper crust, he is researching into the mysterious disappearance of his own father and how it relates to a mysterious young girl named Marie. The plot of the game immediately put us in mind of the 'Professor Layton' series that have been equally popular on the handheld gaming console. The art itself also put us in mind of the famous franchise. The plot is crazy, to be sure, but it definitely got us intrigued quickly. We could totally see the storyline working out as an anime. But anyways.

So the game allows you to exist in the open world of beautifully imagined Paris. You walk around and look for people that can possibly help give you clues that will help you solve the various mysteries that you run across. Once you do end up finding yourself in a quest to complete, you will realize just how quirky this game is. It isn't like 'Layton' at all, not when it comes down to the crux of the game: dancing.

If you are still here reading after learning that this is a 'dancing' RPG then we are glad to have you. The challenge of dancing on the 3DS is both interesting and far smoother than we ever thought possible. But dancing isn't the only thing you'll do in this wacky, crazy, fantastically imagined world. You'll be asked to play a whole slew of minigames that seek to push you forward in your journey. You'll tap buttons on the screen, hit certain button combinations, or even tilt your 3DS into just the right position in order to pull off what you need to do.

We found the selection of minigames to be on point for 'Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure' and that made it the strongest aspect of what we encountered during the game. You don't have to repeat too many minigames and you don't have to worry if you are bad with rhythm. The game allows you to find a way to beat the different games you'll run into. With the way that the games engage all of the 3DS different abilities, you'll never grow bored or frustrated with them.

As dancing is integral to the game, the soundtrack is too. 'Rhythm Thief' is full of an eclectic range of toe tapping songs. The sound effects in the game fit together with the soundtrack and the mood of Paris enhances it all into one palatable, enjoyable experience. Sound plays a huge role in the game world as well, outside of our gameplay mechanics. Raphael uses his ability to record sounds as a technique that helps him unveil new paths in the future. It's all pretty trippy.

There are over a dozen different songs that you will end up playing along to and each song pushes the story of the game forward. Before you engage in these songs you will have the opportunity to use in game cash in order to boost your abilities and make things easier. Still, the dancing isn't hard adn the game let's you skate by with minimal effort if that is the way you so choose to play the game. Otherwise you will find yourself engaged and determined to get a better grade than average.

For how cohesive the soundtracks as a whole, there are very few stand alone tracks that we loved. All 12 songs work and sound great within the flow of the game but they aren't the kind of tracks that will have you glued to your headphones. Our favorite track from the title was either the 'Rhythm Thief Theme' or the 'Moon Princess', but many others struck a solid chord with us. The songs felt old school but refreshed and new all at the same time.

When stepping into the world of a rhythm game you don't particularly think that you will be saddled with too many RPG style quests and that is what happens here, only not to our happiness. The game seems to rely heavily on doing fetch quests and if you are aware of online gaming then you know how irritating these quests can become. Having to haul our butts across the level only to be told to return to the end we just came from grew to be mildly annoying.

The truth is that there is a very limited audience for a title like 'Rhythm Thief'. You have to be interested in dancing games, puzzlers, slight RPGs, and the handheld gaming experience. Whether or not you only fit one of those categories, you will probably come away from the game having learned something.

We admire what the team at Sega did with this game and we think it is a great start in what should likely become a trilogy, if not a full fledged franchise. The game has some flaws but we found ourselves glossing over them for the amazing quality of the game itself.

Submitted by Cheat Title Rating
profile Steven_Shaw Unlock Hard Mode.
Apr 10, 2015

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Sega of America

Release Date:

July 10, 2012

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