In the world of Rhythmia, Dance Master Major Minor is holding a huge music festival. Tempo the grasshopper and his friend Katy are competing in a dance contest on the Major Minor Show for a coveted trophy. But the sinister King Dirge wants the trophy. He and his minions, called Mussi Productions, try to force Tempo and Katy out of the contest.
The game is a platformer. Tempo can move around with and , can look up and down with and , and ducks with . He jumps with and can hover with his wings by holding while in midair, slowly floating downward. Tempo can run with or . Tempo kicks with , which knocks out enemies at close range, and snaps music notes with , a projectile attack that stuns enemies. Kicking can be done with jumping or ducking, and snapping can both be done while jumping. Enemies can also be defeated by jumping on them. Jumping on an enemy awards 10 points, while kicking an enemy awards 100 points.
Finding a DANCE panel causes Tempo to do a dance that defeats all enemies on screen, turning them into Gold Coins for use in bonus games, and summons his friend Katy. Katy follows Tempo around for the rest of the stage and automatically defeats enemies if Tempo stuns them with a note. If the player finds a KATY panel while Katy is following Tempo, Katy does a spin attack that opens up a secret path.
Tempo has a strength gauge in the top left corner of the screen and loses strength when he hits an enemy or an obstacle. Katy flees when Tempo's strength is low. There are items throughout the levels that replenish Tempo's strength. If Tempo loses all his strength, he loses a life. If he loses all of his lives, the game ends but the player can continue or get a password to continue at another time.
Bounce off these to send Tempo cartwheeling across the screen. He is invulnerable while spinning.
Jump on top to teleport to another area.
Hurts Tempo if he touches it. Used to block paths. Find a Flower to melt it.
Touch the ice block to defrost it into a flower, which melts any crystals that might be blocking the way, leaving Power Notes in their place.
Marks the end of a level.
Partially replenishes Tempo's strength gauge. The more groups of notes, the more the item heals. Some notes play a song when collected in sequence instead of replenishing strength. When all of the notes have been collected, the player is awarded bonus points.
Fully replenishes Tempo's strength gauge and awards bonus points.
Permanently extends Tempo's strength gauge by one segment.
Awards double points for each enemy defeated during its duration of effect.
Temporarily grants Tempo invulnerability.
Empowers Tempo with the ability to fly with and shoot LPs with . The effect is broken if Tempo takes damage or when its duration ends.
Enables Tempo to use more hands when using his snap attack with . He uses one hand normally but can use two, three, or four hands depending on the number on the item collected. Tempo drops this item when he takes damage and goes back to using one hand, but it can be collected again.
Tempo performs a dance that defeats every enemy on screen and recruits his friend Katy to accompany him for the rest of the stage. Dances defeat every enemy and turn them into Gold Coins for use in the bonus games.
If Katy is with Tempo, she performs a super spin that opens up special passageways.
Collected by defeating enemies with DANCE panels. Used as credits for bonus games. Press START to check the current coin count.
The game's stages are divided between the three floors of the Major Minor Show. Pressing or on the stage select screen changes the floor. Pressing and changes the stage and , , or selects it. The first two floors allow the player to choose which stage to play in any order. The player beat all the stages on one floor to go on to the next. Stages cannot be played once completed.
Bonus game basement
These stages can be played in any order.
An urban city filled with basketball-playing enemies, skyscrapers that rise and fall, and lots of city-related gimmicks leading to a fight with a giant shoe.
Hi Fi Performance
A digital maze of conveyor belts, electric drum pads, electroshock televisions, and dancing bug monsters that ends with a fight against a pair of headphones.
Fight your way through the mouth and into the belly of a large monster to fight a boxing glove in a boxing ring.
Circus Performance and Jungle Performance can be played in either order. Winter Performance is played after they are both completed.
The Final Performance consists of three hallways with a number of rooms for finding Katy, augmenting Tempo's strength bar with Headphones, and replenishing his strength before the final boss fight.
Bonus games can be played for extra points in exchange for Gold Coins. They are all simple rhythm games that rely on pressing , , or when cued.