Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii) Review

Sometimes being verbose isn't really necessary. Sometimes a game doesn't have enough to it to be a wordy review. The next game I am reviewing is one of those, Rhythm Heaven Fever for Wii. Is the rhythm gonna get ya'?

And the Beat Goes On

The mini-game compilation is not a genre that is foreign to the Nintendo Wii. In fact, the Wii is a cesspool for both good and bad mini-game compendiums. The Rhythm Heaven series has seen two games prior to this Wii release: one that appeared on the Game Boy Advance that never made it out of Japan and the tap-happy DS Rhythm Heaven. Now the series that marches to the beat of a different drummer has arrived on the Nintendo Wii with fifty new rhythm-based mini-games in Rhythm Heaven Fever. If you have a fever, is the proper prescription more Rhythm Heaven?

Starting off you are asked to participate in two rhythm tests. The first tells you to press the A button in a steady beat. The second commands you with pressing the A button when the countdown reaches zero. Each time the countdown stops informing you of it nearing zero by a second. So by the end you have to use your intuition to press the A button at the right time. At the conclusion of both tests you are given a graph detailing how early, late, or exactly on time each of your button inputs were. After this, the true fun begins...

Rhythm Heaven Fever is divided up between fifty challenging mini-games set across ten different rows. Of course, everyone has to start somewhere, and this is where Fever already gets tricky. You begin with one mini-game unlocked, and in order to unlock the next you must score at least an "OK" ranking on the game. This means that it is quite easy to get stuck and caught on a particularly difficult rhythm mini-game with no option to skip it and come back to it. No, you have to tough the game out until you pass it, and considering some of these games have less than a split-second to play along with the proper rhythm (and get prompted by audio and visual cues), you will oftentimes be frustrated. If there was the ability to skip a mini-game after you fail it multiple tries, Rhythm Heaven Fever would not be so aggravating. The game says to just sit down and have fun, but after the tenth time failing a game, the fun wears out its welcome and you just wish to proceed to the next mini-game.

Going for the record of most consecutive holes-in-one
with a monkey and a mandrill as your caddy.

Whether you are in a post-match interview with a Mexican wrestler, competing in a game of badminton sky high across two planes of varying distances, or teeing it up with a monkey and a mandrill, attempting to score as many holes-in-one as possible, there is no shortage of wacky scenarios introduced in Rhythm Heaven Fever. You will be assembling heads onto robots in an assembly line in time with the music, giving high-fives to monkeys as you pass them by on a watch, and kicking basketballs, soccer balls, and footballs as you participate in a double date with a pair of weasels.

After four mini-games have been completed, a fifth one pops up in the row, a remix level. It takes the previous four games you played in that row and mixes them all together into one rhythm-based performance. One moment you'll be screwing on heads of robots, and then the next you'll be swiftly whisked away to chipping balls into the cup with the help of your monkey and mandrill companions. The remix levels are essentially boss levels, and they are the utmost challenging aspect of Rhythm Heaven Fever.

Screw too tightly and you will crack it.
That has the makings of a sick joke somewhere...

If you perform better than a typical OK ranking, you may earn a Superb ranking which nets you with one of fifty medals. Obtaining enough medals unlocks numerous rhythm-centric toys for you to play with as well as other goodies to "toy" around with. Completing every mini-game with at least a Superb ranking (don't get me started on trying to go for Perfects) will take quite a while to accomplish, so your thirty dollars you invested into the game will go very far.

Rhythm is obviously the name of the game, and thankfully the developers forgone the temptation to have the mini-games be played with motion controls. Rhythm Heaven Fever demands precise inputs in order to pass the various mini-games. Motion controls just would not work. Instead you just have two buttons at most to press during each game, the A and B buttons on the Wii remote. One game that involves both buttons is a game featuring a monkey with a tambourine. Pressing A hits the tambourine on the front while pressing both A and B hits the tambourine on the back. You must play a game of Simon Says to match the monkey's musical movements in order to pass.

Rhythm Heaven Fever is certainly a veritable feast for the eyes. The hand-drawn art style is chock full of pleasing colors, bold lines, and in-your-face effects. The music is insanely infectious and will infest your mind with its catchy melodies and beats. "Wubadubadubaduba, is that true?" Why, yes. It certainly is!

Got some peas? Fork 'em over.

The problem with Rhythm Heaven Fever comes mainly from the fact that some mini-games are too challenging for the rhythmically impaired. The game says even if you lack a sense of rhythm that you can enjoy this game, but unless you enjoy having to play the same mini-game over and over again until you complete it with a satisfactory ranking, then you will be stuck with no way to progress further into more entertaining mini-games. This game is definitely not for everyone, but at thirty dollars you could do a lot worse than Rhythm Heaven Fever. At least you won't have wasted too much money if you find out you dislike failing the same mini-game repeatedly.

[SuperPhillip Says: 6.5/10]


Parko said...

Despite what the game says, you really do need a sense of rhythm to thoroughly enjoy the game.

I really enjoyed the game, which was surprising because I was ready to write it off before even playing. Would have been nice to have multiple mini-games open at once though.

Good review here, I may not agree 100% with the score though :P

Unknown said...

Well, note that 6.5 is in the above average territory, so it's not like the game is bad.

Matt Sainsbury said...

Really fair review there Phillip! I enjoyed it.

I haven't played the Wii game, but it sounds much like the DS game, and I do share many of the sentiments you mentioned in this review for that game.

Oli said...

I've never actually played a rhythm heaven game - musical games don't really appeal to me. This is a good review, and I enjoyed reading, keep it up! :)

Anonymous said...

While I DO agree that this game can be frustrating (still deciding if this one is easier or harder than the DS one), you CAN actually skip a level. After failing three times in a row, a text bubble with that little dog head with headphones will appear over the cafe button. If you go in the barkeep will ask you if you want to skip to the next game or show you a demo. That score could've been a tad higher if you were aware of this.

Unknown said...

^That is very good to know. I will take that into consideration (and when I'm not so lazy.) Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

No problem. I don't blame you for not knowing that as the 5 page manual doesn't mention it. The game doesn't make it obvious either. It was the same way with the DS title.

Unknown said...

I didn't even have the manual, so even if it was in there, I wouldn't have known. haha

Well, out of almost 300 reviews this was my first big mistake. Not bad, I guess. Better than IGN, Gamespot, Gametrailers, and G4 at least. :)

Hopefully I will find time to fix this review for you, good sir. I appreciate you being kind about my mistake, too!

Anonymous said...

FYI, i've noticed other reviews make the same mistake about not being able to skip a song. the way they indicate is it that you'll see the little dog icon over the cafe, so if you never went to the cafe that's why you never realized it.