Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 04/05/09 | Genre: Music
Though Rhythm Heaven and Wario Ware share allot of similarities, there are some notable differences. Rhythm Heaven is based on "stages" each with their own musical presentation that isn't finished till the song is done. This is completely different than the speedy and franctic gameplay found in the Wario Ware challenges. The entire game is played through the input of just three touch screen gestures. Yes, that means that no buttons are needed needed in the game. You Tap, Flick, and Hold they stylus on the screen to complete mini-games that go along with the music. Sounds easy right?
All this Tapping and Flicking will be going on to some of the craziest audio and visual cues: robotic ping-pong, monkeys clapping along to J-pop idols and bebop singing frogs. Rhythm's 24 different challenges are presented in 6 columns of 5 levels on your screen. At the top of each column is the "Remix Stage" where you put all the skills you've learned into a completely reorganized version of passed songs that rely heavily on visual cues. I found these Remixed Stages to be the most fun and challenging.
You may find yourself, at the beginning of your time in Rhythm Heaven, struggling to keep up with the rhythm. It will take a little time to get the mechanics down but you will be able to figure it out. Playing through the game won't require a lot of skill as you should manage your way though the game in a few hours. While it is possible to make it though the game relatively quickly, there are plenty of unlockable elements that will cause you to keep coming back for more. As you perfect the gameplay, gaining high scores will earn you medals and rankings to unlock new minigames and open up more fun.
Lost in Translation is the wacky nature of Rhythm Heaven that Nintendo conveniently left out in the "western port" of the title. In the translation process, Nintendo decided to rewrite songs and change dialogue. This ultimately doesn't come close to the Japanese version and has caused an uprising of protest by fans over the tubes of the Internet.
In a Western market that is starting to get filled to the eyeballs with Guitar Hero's and more DLC than you have funds to buy them with--It's a breath of fresh air to get a completely packaged music game like this. What is even better is that it is portable and makes for filling up idol time at work, school, or wherever you are a complete blast.
Real Life Rating
With Rhythm Heaven, your getting a solid First Party Nintendo release. This continues their trend of release titles that are family friendly. Comic mischief abounds, but its all in kid friendly fun and should be suited to practically any audience.