Mr. Drumstix Music Studio
Mr. Drumstix Music Studio (Howling Dog Systems – ages 3 & up) is a creativity tool CD-ROM that is less concerned with polish than with substance – a refreshing oddity in a field that too often tries to dazzle first and deliver second. The disc offers keyboard, drums, and guitar simulations, a variety of different instrument sounds, music games, karaoke for over 40 songs, and the ability to multitrack your own recordings and edit the preexisting ones, all through a straightforward interface unconcerned with superficial gloss. Perhaps the most unique feature of the disc is the guitar simulation, which lets you strum or pick a virtual guitar. Most programs force you to choose notes from a keyboard, then translates them automatically to a guitar sound, which loses the “feel” of using strings instead of keys. The composition process in this program’s rhythm editor is simple and effective, but you might have problems combining your different tracks to make them play simultaneously; our copy of Drumstix was extremely moody when it came to putting parts together, and sometimes went off in directions of its own. This meant that we didn’t have much luck fashioning a cohesive finished product. Our time with the disc, however, was pleasantly spent regardless. The range of MIDI sounds is naturally quite limited, but there are so many different instrument options available that creative players who are willing to make some compromises will find the selection workable. Whether you’re an experienced musician or just an eager beginner, Mr. Drumstix Music Studio has a lot to keep you occupied.
– March 1996