What Is Trombone Champ and What's All the Hoot About?

Dejan Cvetnarevic
Dejan Cvetnarevic

Updated · Mar 28, 2023


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Have you ever heard of Guitar Hero? Of course, you have.

But what if we told you there’s a similar game called Trombone Champ in which you could get your rock on by playing the trombone instead?

But what is Trombone Champ, and can anyone play it?

We hoot away the details below!

What Is Trombone Champ?

Trombone Champ is the world’s first trombone rhythm music game and the gaming sphere’s latest viral sensation as it lets you experience this magnificent instrument like never before.

Before going any further, however, we need to clarify that you are not using an actual trombone but rather your peripherals to hit specific notes in over 25 different backing tracks.

Five of those are original compositions by the game developer, Holy Wow Studios, one is a contributed composition, and the remainder includes classical arrangements, among which you can find the US, UK's, and Canada's national anthems.

Ever since its September 16th release, Trombone Champ has exploded in popularity on every gaming channel, and most gamers’ are showing off their ‘Perfecto’ playing skills.

Where Can You Play Trombone Champ?

As of now, Trombone Champ is only available on Valve's game distribution platform, Steam, but the studio is looking into a potential Mac release and other platform adaptations.

This popular and mind-boggling game is currently being sold for a mere $14.99 without any current or future microtransactions whatsoever!

You can also get lucky and find Trombone Champ at a discounted price at one of Steam's sale events as well.

Is There a Multiplayer Mode for Trombone Champ?

The game is currently only a single-player experience, and the devs have not revealed anything about an upcoming Multiplayer mode. That said, we can imagine the fun ways players can interact with each other if such a feature were to be implemented in the future.

What Is the Story About in Trombone Champ?

The game starts off in the dark with an ominous voice foretelling of ‘Twin Vessels’ forging a ‘Brave Soul’, which one day will have to face two Baboons and tear the very fabric of reality.

But until then, you must 'Toot On’ you 'Brave Soul' to become the ‘Trombone Champ’ and uncover the secrets of the ‘Trombiverse’.

The last thing we see is a purple-hued portrait of Mozart, his eyes glowing bright, and a dark silhouette of a trombone spinning before we are greeted by a goofy main menu.

Oh, there are also so many baboons in this game, but their purpose remains unclear!

Fans have already posted joking reviews on the game's Steam store page about the 'Souls-like' opening of the game, as well as its breath-related stamina mechanic.

How Is Trombone Champ Played?

The game lets you choose from a variety of Tromboners, instruments, and orchestra sections that you unlock as you make progress by playing.

After choosing your player and instrument, you are offered a scrollable list of available songs that also include information on the composition date, genre, and author.

Each song has a 10-star difficulty metric and a stats wheel that visualizes its characteristics in categories such as Tears, Fury, Spunk, Slides, and Doots.

Before starting to play, the game’s loading screen greets you with interesting facts or scary messages, such as: “There are between 2 and 4 spiders living inside the average trombone”.

Good luck focusing on your performance after a night-inducing statistic such as that!

Note that you can also sing along as you play since most songs come with lyrics at the bottom of the screen.

The ‘Warm Up’ Mode

If you don’t feel ready to jump into difficult songs immediately, you can try the ‘Warm Up’ mode, which explains the game’s controls and mechanics.

Note that at this point, you should probably go to the settings menu to change the default mouse movement from inverted (as trombones move that way) back to normal.

During practice, you’ll notice note prompts of different lengths that you must hit and hold, for which you’ll be encouraged with messages such as 'Nasty', 'Perfecto', 'Nice', 'Meh', and 'OK'. 

As you show perfect accuracy with a streak of ‘Perfecto’ and ‘Nice’ notes, your Champ meter fills, making your background lights faster and flashier.

The Grading System and Available Rewards

After finishing the song, you will be graded with anything from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’, see the points you scored and how your performance compares to your previous playthroughs.

You will also receive a certain amount of ‘Toots’ based on the song execution that you can use to buy ‘Sacks’ containing four cards, i.e., the game’s collectible items.

Currently, there are 50 cards in total, which will increase in number with updates.

These cards are similar to Pokemon cards, consisting of composers, music clefs, instruments, a black baboon with glowing red eyes, and a hot dog.

Any duplicates can be sold for ‘Turds’, which you can then use to create new cards.

What About the Mechanics in Trombone Champ?

The game’s best feature is that it lets you play every note freely, so you're not just following the music but are actively playing and creating music.

This amount of freedom makes for some hilarious moments if you are way off the mark when going for your notes as you are butchering popular classics such as the US anthem.

Note that, for now, you can only use a mouse and keyboard to play the game, but the developer claims it will offer controller support very soon.

How How Do You Control the Pitch?

To hit and change the right pitch, you move the mouse up and down and either click the left mouse button to play the note or any keyboard button.

How Does Trombone Sliding Work?

You can also slide between notes by holding down the button and moving the mouse until you hit your next note, provided you have enough breath left to do so.

How Does the Breath Meter Work?

Similar to how real-life trombone players must control their breath to learn and play various musical phrases, you'll need to do the same within the game.

So if you keep playing a specific note without stopping, your player will drop the trombone from their mouth and gasp for air, making you miss out on the following notes.

Free Improvisation Mode

The game also features a ‘Free Improvisation’ mode for all the brave and experienced tromboners to play their own tunes without a backing track.

What’s in Store for the Future of Trombone Champ?

The Holy Wow devs have posted a roadmap on Steam that lists their priorities regarding improvements, features, and content they are looking to bring to Trombone Champ.

Some of these updates include UI improvements, accessibility settings, plenty more songs, added story content, and extra platform support.

Aside from these major additions, small bug fixes, tweaks, and adjustments will be implemented regularly to improve the game's overall experience.


Dejan Cvetnarevic

Dejan Cvetnarevic

Dejan is a techie at heart who always dreamed of turning his fascination with gaming into a career. He finds working for TechJury a perfect opportunity to express his views of all kinds of different software. Being an avid reader, particularly of fantasy and sci-fi, Dejan pursued a degree in English Language and Literature. When not at his computer, he’s watching sports or playing tabletop games.

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