Tadpole Treble review: Hitting the right notes

BitFinity's aquatic rhythm game has made its way to the Nintendo Switch.

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Originally released for the Wii U and Steam back in 2016, Tadpole Treble is a Rhythm game from BitFinity. Met with much acclaim, Tadpole Treble is set to hit the Nintendo Switch soon. Bringing the upbeat rhythm game action to a modern console, as well as some new features, I quite enjoyed my time with Tadpole Treble.

Just keep swimming

As the name would imply, Tadpole Treble sees players in the role of a small tadpole named Baton, swimming through the river. After being captured and taken far away from its home by a pesky seagull in the opening mission, players must embark on a musical journey to reunite Baton with its family.

Tadpole Treble takes a unique approach to the rhythm game genre. Instead of having players hit notes on rhythm and stay on beat, players must avoid the notes, as they’re quite prickly and will damage the player. Instead, properly avoiding the notes and letting them pass you is the way to properly trigger them.

The “rhythm” aspect comes in the form of the other objects you interact with during a level. Yellow items such as bamboo and spheres can be smacked, triggering a sound effect and sometimes launching Baton. Pink items include food and will also play a sound effect when gathered and can also replenish health. The items are laid out in such a way that players have a natural way to progress through a given level. It speaks to the quality of level design present in BitFinity’s rhythm game.

Play the way you feel

What really impressed me during my time with Tadpole Treble was the game’s Composition mode. Here, players are given free range to create their own levels, using a variety of different tools and features. You can place notes, food, and create your own Tadpole Treble experience.

These tools can lead to awesome creations in the hands of people much more talented than myself. I’d love to see how the community recreates popular songs, or turns the game’s mechanics on their head.

Feeling froggy

This marks the second release of Tadpole Treble, as the game originally launched for Wii U and Steam a handful of years ago. With the subtitle of “Encore” BitFinity adds new content and features to the rhythm game for its re-release. This comes in the form of new unlockables, and the ability to play the game portably.

The developers also add a new stage exclusive to Encore. However, the game still feels quite short. With nearly four years separating the initial launch to the re-release, it would’ve been awesome to get a true “deluxe” experience. Several new stages and levels, as well as additional songs. While I enjoyed everything that is here, I can’t help but feel like there was a lot left on the ocean floor.

With this essentially being a port of a Wii U game, I also think it would’ve been really cool to see some of the Nintendo Switch’s unique tech get utilized. Especially in a rhythm game focused on feeling and sound, it would’ve been a great opportunity to take advantage of something like HD Rumble.

One More Song

Tadpole Treble Encore is a cute and exciting spin on the rhythm game genre. With well-designed levels and a robust creative mode, BitFinity delivers a unique, if short experience. Though I wish the game was packing more in the content department, I can’t dish on the quality of what’s there. Exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, Tadpole Treble Encore is a great way to play one the better rhythm games of the past few years.


This review is based on a digital download code provided by the publisher. Tadpole Treble Encore is available now on Nintendo Switch for $8.99.

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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Pros
  • Well-designed levels
  • Robust creative mode
  • Diverse line-up of catchy tunes
Cons
  • Added content and exclusives feel minimal
  • Lack of innovation using Switch technology
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