Developer: Smule
Price: .99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★★
User Interface Rating: ★★★★★
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

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As you may have guessed by its description, Leaf Trombone magically transforms your iPhone into a well poised instrument from the forest. Smule has given us plenty of innovation in the past and this is no exception. With other music apps like Ocarina, Smule continues to squeeze every ounce of usability from the hardware.

Let’s start off by saying that Leaf Trombone is fantastic. The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, though the instrument itself is surprisingly difficult to master. You’re presented with a metronome and a long leaf with the markings of musical notation to its left. You have the option to use the microphone to produce notes, though be warned that this is extremely difficult and may induce fatigue. Your other option is to simply touch the device in accordance with a tic-mark to deliver a note.

Songs may be selected from a list that’s comprised of tunes that have been composed and voted on by other Leaf Trombone users. At the time of this writing, options vary from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, to the theme song from The Lord of the Rings. The list is quite expansive, giving you plenty of predetermined courses for success. Each song presents its musical notation in the form of floating leaves. They slowly gravitate toward your trombone on the axis in which you should produce touch the device. A very similar system to Guitar Hero, its very easy to grasp. Songs like Pachelbel’s Canon in D are fairly mundane while the current finger-melter goes to Through the Fire and the Flames by Dragonforce.

The most interesting piece of the application is the ability to perform in front of anyone at any given time. Once you go through the twelve second, no hassle registration process, you can post any of your performances on the “World Stage.” Other users can observe your recording and vote on it accordingly. It seems I have quite a bit to learn, as my production of “Twinkle Twinkle” got nothing more than a warm “noob play a harder song” from one of the judges. As mirrored in real life, it’s a tough crowd out there. The option to observe and judge other performances is always at your fingertips as well. Did I mention that it comes with a list of achievements? Leaf Trombone is extensively feature packed.

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Not enough can be said for Smule’s knack for doing what others don’t. This app provides extensive re-playability with its drive for user generated content and sandbox environment. You’ve been set up with a tool that requires true skill, patience, and practice. The whine of the instrument may get a bit monotonous for some, but it’s nothing that shouldn’t be expected from the start. A “duet-mode” would be nice, but I’m just nitpicking at this point. For a mere ninety nine cents, you owe it to yourself to download Leaf Trombone.

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