‘Holy Wow!’ is probably what you’d say if a single tweet sent your weird and wacky video game into the gaming stratosphere overnight. Holy Wow is also the name of the studio behind Trombone Champ, a game that was recently on the receiving end of this treatment.
When PC Gamer posted a clip of this musical rhythm game, it likely didn’t expect immediate virality – but that’s exactly what happened. As of writing, the tweet showcasing gameplay for Trombone Champ has now hit 91,400 likes, and 24,100 retweets. It’s sparked a veritable trombone revolution, with keen players flocking to Steam to grab a piece of the musical pie.
Trombone Champ was not only trending on Twitter on Thursday, it also managed to rocket up the Steam charts, growing by 452.5% overnight. As of writing, the current player count is at 973, with this growing on a large upward trend – so much so, that it’s listed as one of the top trending games on the Steam Charts website.
So, what exactly is Trombone Champ? In this game, you play as a keen tromboner, using your mouse to click to the rhythm of royalty-free musical tracks. Sometimes, a note requires a click-and-hold. Sometimes, it requires you to jiggle your mouse around, or hit frantic notes in quick session. Think Guitar Hero or Tap Tap Revenge, but with each button-click delivering a delightfully trombone toot that may or may not be on pitch.
For those keen to make their own tracks, there’s also a freeform mode where you can toot out your own music. It’s a little bit ridiculous, and that’s what makes it so much fun.
The original post going viral was likely due to a range of factors – including Trombone Champ leaning into modern memes and an absurd vaporware aesthetic. The clip posted by PC Gamer showed off an extremely marketable, hilarious snippet of gameplay – a player tooting out to Beethoven while phrases like NASTY and PERFECTO blared on screen, all while Beethoven watched on in disgust.
The clip is short, snappy, and exactly highlights the absurdism of Trombone Champ – the pure and unfiltered, meme-worthy value of the rhythm game. It certainly helped the game find its core audience online, with plenty of players now sharing clips and tunes in similarly viral tweets and shares.
The overwhelming success of the game has come as a major shock to Holy Wow, which has taken to Twitter to discuss more about the game’s development, and how it was a secondary focus for a team working on ‘stupid’ mini-games in their spare time.
‘We’re blown away by the recent success of Trombone Champ! Thank you so much to all of our supporters!’ Holy Wow said. ‘Needless to say, based on the past few days, we’re planning to take the game farther than we originally planned. However, we should clarify that at the moment, Holy Wow is mostly a one-person operation. And it’s not even our primary gig! We work full-time jobs (!!!) and built this whole game on nights, weekends, and holidays.’
‘It’s going to take us a few weeks to get our lives in order and deal with the huge demand this game generated! Please be patient, and, once again, thank you for your support.’
While Holy Wow may not have expected the success of Trombone Champ, the viral clip has now cemented this wacky rhythm game as the video game flavour of the month. Even if this interest is fleeting, as memes so often are on the modern internet, Holy Wow will likely come away with well-learned lessons, and a renewed spotlight on everything coming from the studio next.
Trombone Champ is now available for Windows PC via Steam.