Developer: Nintendo SPD Group No.1, TNX
Platform: Nintendo Wii
ESRB: E for Everyone
Release Date: Out now
The Rhythm Heaven series has harnessed a tight-knit and dedicated fanbase in the past couple of years. And luckily for us, Nintendo has decided to bring the series’ first console appearance here to North American shores (and soon enough to Europe!). Along with that, they’ve even been putting emphasis on the game’s release with publicity moves such as the launch party in Los Angeles and putting the game at the incredibly low price tag of $30. Now is Nintendo going to do all of that for a lackluster game? On the contrary, Rhythm Heaven Fever holds tightly to its roots and delivers a spectacular display of the rhythm gameplay that we’ve seen in the past.
For those who aren’t familiar with the music series, you may be wondering what Rhythm Heaven is. In the games, you must hit buttons—A or A+B (or use the touchscreen in the DS game’s case)—in tune to the beat of the music each minigame has. Every minigame has varying rules that make you hit the buttons in certain ways, and so on. At the end of every minigame, your performance is judged and you may be given a “just OK”, “OK”, “superb” if you passed, or a “try again” if you failed. You can go back to any game with a superb rank and perfect it (which means you can’t miss anything!) when given the chance. It may sound extremely simple, but once you get your hands on the game yourself, you’ll soon find that it’s much more than that in difficulty and more.
Rhythm Heaven Fever quickly grabs you in with its bright, quirky, and cartoony graphics. Some may be turned off by the simplicity of them, but I think it definitely fits the style of the game perfectly. The game also has an abundance of adorable little creatures such as the seals in Flipper-Flop and the monkeys in a variety of minigames.
As to be expected from a Rhythm Heaven game, the music is outstanding. The English voiceovers are also done very well and I ended up not even missing the Japanese ones by the end of the game. I found many tunes I loved helped me get into the rhythm so I was able to hit those beats perfectly. I’m also finding that the music from this game easily gets into your head and stays there for a long period of time (not that it’s bad!). So I hope you like the songs from games like Love Rap and Micro-Row, because they might be in there for a while.
As was mentioned earlier, the gameplay is simple. Even though it might be, that doesn’t mean it won’t get incredibly difficult at points, especially later on in the game. The fact may even turn off many gamers that aren’t quite into the music and rhythm genre. That being said, the games seem much more difficult than the ones in Rhythm Heaven Fever’s predecessor (that might be because you had more control in the DS version with the stylus, though). You’re going to be failing games over and over again, even if you are a music-game master. Nonetheless, the game’s difficulty will make you focus more on the minigames and will help you aim towards getting those superbs and perfects since you’ll memorize how the minigames work exactly. And when you do finally accomplish your goal, you’ll dance and cheer (if you’re like me, anyway) and feel incredibly good about yourself.
Unfortunately, no game is without its problems. Despite it being a small one, it’s one that I’d like to point out either way. You must hold the Wii Remote pointing at the screen, and when you’re holding your hand in a way that you only need the A and B buttons, it strains your wrist and thumb terribly (I have long fingers, too!). It’s especially evident when you need to use the A+B combo in games like Flipper-Flop a multitude of times. I think it would’ve been better to have the Remote held sideways (like an NES controller) and use the A button and 1 or 2 button in place of the B button. That or just have support for the GameCube or classic controllers. I ended up having to hold the Wii Remote awkwardly in order to minimize the strain on my hand.
Regardless of the minor issues I do have with Rhythm Heaven Fever, they’re very much overshadowed by how fun the game is overall. You’ll spend countless hours going through the ten sets of wildly different minigames and remixes, extras, and multiplayer that are offered. Even more so if you decide to go and perfect every single minigame and remix. If you do that, I bow down to you and wish I had your skills and patience. Nonetheless, I think every gamer should give Rhythm Heaven Fever a chance if they’re interested in trying out one of the best rhythm games that is offered. So go out and buy it ASAP, jam that game into your Wii, and enjoy this quirky little masterpiece like Mr. Wrestler says down below. You won’t be disappointed.
+ Minigames are simple, but extremely fun
+ The music is absolutely superb and enjoyable
+ Option to perfect all minigames and remixes (feels awesome when you do)
+ Great to play in short bursts
- Wrist may strain from the way controller needs to be held
- Some minigames feel unnecessarily difficult
Overall: 9 (out of 10)
Nintendo puts out yet another masterful entry in the Rhythm Heaven series that will definitely cater to both longtime fans and newcomers.
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