Trombone Champ – PC Review

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Trombone Champ, from Holy Wow Studios, made its way into our lives on 16th September on Steam. This quirky, random, and challenging rhythm-style game has been making waves since its release. Its meme-worthy viral content and hilarious gameplay has hit viral status on the net. I spent some time with the game recently after videos online gave me the urge to see what the game was all about.


Having been a fan of the music rhythm genre of games naturally, I’m drawn towards new games brought out like it. I knew before going in though that I was in for a unique treat with this one. Are you a fan of the button-riffing music games? Are you going to try out Trombone Champ? If so, leave us a comment below

Become the champ with your own personal laser show


It soon became apparent that this seemingly straightforward rhythm game was anything but straightforward. Not long after starting up the game, you are greeted by a dark souls-esque intro. This tells how brave souls are forged and how you fit into a prophecy. Very intense and contrasting to the bright and colourful theme throughout the rest of the game!

Shortly after the intro, you are given a menu that takes up all the screen with a trombone pointer. Eager to get playing I chose to go straight into the game. You are then given a simplistic character customisation where you are greeted with the Mii-like characters. You also get to unlock customisation items and cards, which give you pseudo-factual information about trombone history in general such as J.J Johnson who was an influential trombonist and a lover of hot dogs, apparently!

ooh a shiny new card for my collection!

The actual gameplay lets you either use your mouse and keyboard or a controller to control a dot that moves vertically at the side of the screen. You must move up and down to hit notes that fly across the screen from right to left. The game eases you into the game with a warm-up song and lets you practice hitting the notes. I went for a mouse and keyboard approach which I felt gave more control.

I have to admit I found even the easier ones difficult. The songs seemed to be at double-speed meaning the notes flew across the screen just about giving you enough time to hit them. This made for funny missed notes giving the music an almost cringe-worthy and silly yet awesome sound. This is all intentional by the game devs no doubt. The game does offer up an option to slow down the speed, giving the gamer a fighting chance of hitting those elusive notes.

The game ranking Nasty became a regular sight

Graphics & Audio

The graphics are very stylised and simplistic. They didnt aim to reinvent the wheel, but chose to just make it fun and quirky. The main character you play is akin to the Mii characters you had a chance to customise on the Wii, which raises and lowers the trombone in line with the rise and fall of your dot on the screen. Various funny images are shown in the background. These range from unicorns, to stereotypical dishes resulting in hilarious moments as you try your hardest not to hit a wrong note. Every graphic in the game is made to make you laugh and it succeeds. 

The audio given to the menus and game is just as fun with an upbeat, almost retro feel to the whole game. The songs on offer range in difficulty and include the UK, Canada, and US national anthems, some classical music, and some country and pop thrown in for good measure.


The game is made so you can just jump in and have some fun whenever you want. However, the addition of a leaderboard makes it so that you want to try and master every song. The game also has the card collection aspect which can be enjoyable to read through. You probably won’t get the length of gameplay as a game such as Dark Souls. You’ll no doubt get an hour or two with this one after which you’ve discovered a lot of what the game has to offer.

I must have tooted too hard! I’m seeing unicorns!

Final Thoughts

This game came about from humble beginnings as a passion project from game devs Holy Wow Studios. They didn’t expect it to reach the lofty heights of popularity as it has done. It went viral quickly and it’s easy to see why. The hilarious visuals, silly sounds and Wii console-esque graphics make this game something unique and special. I hadn’t laughed so much playing a game as I did with Trombone Champ. I did find myself fatigued by all of the tooting and colourful visuals, however. Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments.

I award Trombone Champ a Thumb Culture Gold Award!

If you enjoyed this review, check out my review of Metal: Hellsinger 

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