For people who are new to this genre, the difficulty is unique to this game.
- Easy: This setting throughout the game excludes up and down and doesn't have the extra items like goombas and bullet bills which fits the theme of the level.
- Normal: This is the standard for people who got use to the basic to how the game works. However, there will be enemies which requires whatever method it needs to stop which might ruin your chance, especially through story mode.
- Hard: If you decide to take on hard, be mindful if you are into music, you must be prepared that there might be times where you need to hold the button or foot, or matching the arrows within the beats between it.
- Very Hard: You need to be well relaxed to deal with the frenetic nature of this level. Like the Guitar Hero series, you have to be flexible matching the arrows to the beat compare to matching the buttons between the frets, moving up and down and using the hammer for tremolo effect.
The most important part as in this genre is to keep the arrows perfect to the beat. The star meter compare to Guitar Hero's gauge meter, if you miss too many beats, your game would end. If you don't want to a sudden end to the music, you must remember that timing is the most important in the music world.
Free mode and Story Mode
If you play Free Mode for the first time, you can choose between Mario and Luigi but there wouldn't be any songs available. You have to unlock it in Story Mode. If you do unlock it in Story Mode, you can play it in Free Mode with the choice whether you want Mush Mode with and double-tap up and down to change the difficulty level.
With Story Mode, you should start with Easy to familiarize with the songs and the minigames that comes with it. If you succeed, there's an "EX" when you get to the stage to whether you want to start a new game or not. If you continue in Normal, when you get to the shops, there's a hidden song which you need to purchase which will become available in the Free Mode.
Unlike other Mario games, you only get to choose between Mario and Luigi. With any modes you have to contend with the vertical splitscreen as oppose to the horizontal splitscreen. The reason is, all arrows and other Mario like features would always go up and it would be harder to time the arrows if it was moving across the screen. This game wouldn't be complete since Mario Kart 64 is there would be enemies which you need to take out or to avoid. So get ready to have fun dealing with this kind which might make it hard for you to complete this game.
Story mode levels
The story is very simplistic. Waluigi took the music key which scatters the other keys in the other three worlds.
You start off in this world in which Toad teaches you the basics and the minigames. So depending on what difficulty, if you do it on easy, no enemies and the up down would not be available. On normal and up, you'll encounter enemies which you need to deal or avoid. Here's the songs: Here we go!, Underground Mozart, Garden Boogie and Destruction Dance against Waluigi.
This world follows a similar pattern with Mushroom Kingdom and the other levels. Of course the songs slowly gets harder depending on the difficulty. The songs for this level: Jump! Jump! Jump!, Fishing Frenzy, In the Whirlpool and Blooper Blop against Big Blooper.
This is the same with other levels. The difficulty is slightly higher in this world so match the arrows with timing. The songs for this world: Hammer Dance against Hammer Bros, Rollercoasting, Boo Boogie and Starring Wario! against Wario.
Like the other worlds, this follows a similar pattern. The difficulty slowly intensifies so careful not to make a mistake on this one. The songs for this part: Frozen Pipes, Cabin Fever, Deep Freeze against Big Freezie and Rendezvous on Ice.
The game wouldn't be complete without Bowser. This is supposedly the hardest level in the game so whatever difficulty you're choosing should be careful not to get whacked in this game. The songs for this last level: Always Smiling and Bowser's Castle against Bowser.
It follows the same path with Story Mode with new songs to unlock. The shops in all four worlds except Bowser will have a hidden song for a high price.
- Mushroom Kingdom: Choir on the Greens for 100 coins
- Pirate Island: Hop, Mario! for 200 coins
- Amusement Park: Where's the Exit? for 300 coins
- Frozen Mountain: Piroli for 400 coins
The new songs will replace the old songs you already played but some songs like the boss songs and the intro song will stay as the key element to the game.
Songs you'll unlock on EX:
- Mushroom Kingdom: Pipe Pop
- Pirate Island: Pirate Dance and Step by Step
- Amusement Park: Moustache, Barrel and Gorilla
- Frozen Mountain: Ms. Mowz Song and Midnight Drive.