Developer: Smule, Inc.
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Leaf Trombone: World Stage - There's something vaguely intimidating about being assigned to review an application and, upon doing a little research, finding out that it's an extremely hotly-anticipated app from a developer with a line of very successful, high-profile offerings. So as I sit here, preparing to review Leaf Trombone: World Stage by smule (tons of additional info and tutorials can be found on the smule website, by the way), I can't help but find myself thinking you'd better get this right!
And speaking of getting it right, Leaf Trombone certainly seems to do so. Billed as the "First Massively-Multiplayer Music Game," Leaf Trombone: World Stage follows in the footsteps of smule's smash hit Ocarina, turning your iPhone into a bona fide wind instrument. While Ocarina turned the iPhone into a magic flute, Leaf Trombone goes a little more earthy; developer Ge Wang told USA Today that he wanted to make an instrument that was more "whimsical and wacky," like blowing on a blade of grass. Thus, Leaf Trombone was born.
The concept behind Leaf Trombone: World Stage is a pretty simple one. Follow the floating leaves on the screen by moving your finger along the trombone slide. You can choose in the settings whether you want to blow into the iPhone's microphone to play (which is more impressive technology, but in my opinion makes it a little tougher to keep track of what's happening on-screen) or simply play by touch. Leaf Trombone comes with 40 songs already pre-loaded, ranging from The Star-Spangled Banner to Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends." You can also search through over a thousand user-submitted tunes. While I'm sad to say I'm really kind of terrible at Leaf Trombone (so far, anyway), I think I played a pretty rockin' version of Katy Perry's seminal pop hit "I Kissed A Girl."
Once you've mastered the basics of Leaf Trombone: World Stage, you can take your show on the road by performing on the World Stage, to perform for (and be judged by) other users. If you've got a bit of virtual stage fright, you can simply act as a digital Simon Cowell for this Leaf Trombone Idol; listen to other users perform and let them know if they're David Cook or a William Hung. (Judges acquire stats, though, so be fair or you'll get a bad reputation!)
For the more musically-inclined Leaf Trombonists, the Free Play mode allows plenty of room for creativity. Tap out a song, and if you'd like, hop on to Leaf Trombone's online Composer to save and share your songs, whether they're popular hits or your own original compositions.
Overall, Leaf Trombone is an absolutely gorgeous app with pretty much endless replay value. All this for an introductory price of just $0.99? It's - pardon the pun - music to my ears.
For an idea of what Leaf Trombone: World Stage can do, check out what "internetainers" Rhett & Link cooked up when smule passed them an advance copy.