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Rhythm Heaven Fever Review


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On 02/18/2012 at 09:31 PM by Jason Ross

When I die, I want to go to Rhythm Heaven.
RECOMMENDATION:

Anyone that likes music and some simple fun should check it out.

If asked to describe Rhythm Heaven Fever in one short phrase, I'd say it's “a horse of a different color!” Like Rhythm Heaven and the WarioWare games before, Rhythm Heaven Fever does an excellent job of painting itself as a game different from virtually any other. It's more unique, more quirky, and more inspired than a lot of what I've seen in the past. For a title budgeted for release at $30, there's certainly plenty of content to keep the original feeling going for some time.

Rhythm Heaven Fever, at its core, is a rhythm-based mini-game collection. And yet, it's much more than just a mini-game collection. Comprised of fifty total games, players must "beat” each game by tapping the A button and/or hitting A and B to the rhythm. Completing each one will unlock the next - every fifth game is a “remix,” which typically pulls gameplay from the four games before it to make for a fun, varied, and challenging game with catchy songs.  As a whole, the formula works well. The gameplay, despite being limited to two buttons, is challenging, and playing well is rewarded with unlockable games, songs, and other bonuses.

Nearly every game is filled with cute charm. One game places you in the shoes of a boy on a date. In the game, you kick away soccer balls, basketballs, and footballs while watching two weasels who are also on a date. While you and the girl you're with watch the weasels as a part of your date, they watch you kick away the different sports balls as part of theirs. The three balls all bounce with a different rhythm, and players have to kick in time to each ball's type of bounce.

A second game places you as a cheerleader amongst a team encouraging students studying in the school library. It's necessary to tap the A button in sequence with the other cheerleaders to flip the books they're all holding back and forth to remain in sync with the group. The game grows a lot more complicated when two sets of cheers start being called out, and players have to follow two sets of overlapping rhythms without making too many mistakes.

Nearly every mini-game is filled with cute charm. There are little jokes just about everywhere, from cameo appearances of Mr. Game and Watch to rhythmic games of badminton between two airplane pilots (one cat, one dog), the game is full of eye-catching moments that made me chuckle.

Before each new type of game, there's mandatory practice. Practice is perfect for learning the tricks of each game – but unfortunately, each game with a practice mode always has a practice mode. Yes, practice can be skipped by tapping the minus button, but it's a bit cumbersome.

Furthermore, there's a lack of a “Retry” option after a failure on a song, which forces players to go through the entire process of starting up the mini-game, complete with skipping the practice sequence. Because Rhythm Heaven Fever frequently challenges players to earn perfect ratings, you'll find yourself doing this often. Fortunately, several, but not all games have sequels, and like the remixes, most of the sequels refrain from any type of training session.

And that's it. The redundant practice mode and lack of retry option are the only real criticisms I have for the game. Yes, there are a few songs and games I didn't like, maybe a few, even just a couple more, than weren't my taste in the earlier DS Rhythm Heaven - but aside from that, everything else works great.

I already said it before, but it bears repeating: much of the music is catchy. I find myself hearing some of the songs in my head even a few days after playing them. The two-button input is sharp, of course. Rhythm Heaven's stylized art looks fantastic on the big screen, too. Everything in the game has a friendly, approachable charm.

Admittedly, the two-player mode is a little bit lacking. It's certainly fun and funny to play with someone else and laugh when he or she makes a mistake that throws everyone off beat, but the mode only has a handful of games. It gives two players a lot more slack than it does a single player, so earning medals on each two-player stage is a much simpler task. Fortunately, there are some endless games to unlock for duos, but the lack of the more structured games really will provide pairs of gamers with a short evening of fun, and little more.

All together, Rhythm Heaven Fever is a sensational title, particularly for those who are musically inclined. The lighthearted fan will be able to play in short bursts each day, while the more serious gamer will enjoy the challenge of earning superb and perfect ratings. There's some annoyance, particularly with the lacking multiplayer and the repetitive practice modes, but aside from that, Rhythm Heaven Fever is one of the most enjoyable games of this generation.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Kathrine Theidy Staff Alumnus

02/19/2012 at 12:00 AM

If it weren't for being in the thick of a couple of RPGs right now, I would probably already have this game. The main issue I had with the DS game is that I found the touch screen controls were too sluggish to match up to the precision required in most minigames, but since this one sticks with buttons, it shouldn't be a problem. It's too bad the multiplayer isn't worthwhile, but since this is a lower-priced title then it doesn't really need that extra value.

Xayvong

02/20/2012 at 02:15 PM

Love this series, I may pick this up a little later when I get the chance.

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