reviews\ Feb 20, 2012 at 10:00 am

Rhythm Heaven Fever review


Rhythm Heaven on the DS was definitely an acquired taste, and you either loved it for its quirky nature and catchy beats or absolutely hated it. It makes sense though, since the game exudes Japanese culture to the brim. Rhythm Heaven Fever was initially not going to make it to the US but thankfully Nintendo decided to change their tune and port it over regardless. What we get, is an extremely addicting and simplistic rhythm game that is so Japanese, some people just might not get it, and for those, I can already tell you, this game's not for you.

Rhythm Heaven Fever tasks you with pressing the A button or the A + B buttons in rhythmic fashion, whether you're copying on screen movements or just following the beat, it helps if you're in any way rhythmically inclined, otherwise you might have a hard time keeping up with the game, especially as you keep unlocking more challenging levels.

The basic layout of the game is quite simple. You start off with one song on a big grid and as you complete it, you unlock more and more. There are always four songs that belong into one tiered level, and then the fifth is a remix which combines all the previous ones together into one, much harder song. Depending on whether you hit all the beats correctly or stumble a few times can mean the difference between a gold medal, a passing grade, or a failure. Getting a gold medal then qualifies you to perfect the song, though you must wait on the game to signal it first. As you're playing, you'll be told that a certain level can be perfected, and you have three tries until you have to try again a later time. These perfect runs truly test out your nerves as even one little hiccup in your rhythm can cost you that perfect result.

The aforementioned Remix levels take the cake as far as creativity go. Utilizing the previous four levels' gameplay styles and combining them in a way that it makes one complete song is always a joy to see, and once you master the remix, you'll find yourself wanting to do them again and again, if only just to listen to the awesome songs.

An example of some of these rhythm games can involve a high flying badminton match, where you must keep hitting the shuttlecock back and forth between you and a computer opponent to the beat. Various visual and sound cues indicate whether the shots change up so you know when to change up the beat as well. It's a hard concept to explain but certainly this video might help you understand it better.

What's great about Rhythm Heaven Fever is its sheer amount of songs you can play through. There is truly a lot of variety here and if you like quirky sounding songs, you're going to feel right at home here. As always, us in the US are robbed of the amazing original Japanese soundtrack, as most of the sound cues, and lyrical songs are changed to English, but thankfully the translations are just as entertaining.

There are a lot of extras in the game as you progress, such as little mini games to serve as a distraction, and that is indeed what they are. From a musical pullback car, to an endless game of beat matching, or even a mystery game which requires you to look out for codewords around the game, and then input them into your cellphone to solve crimes, these will entertain for a bit, but you won't find yourself playing around with them a whole ton, and instead you'll be constantly trying to better yourself in every song.

Visually the game looks amazing. It doesn't use any 3D visuals, and instead relies on caricatured characters and bright colors. In fact some of these levels are so minimalistic that they might only include a hand flicking a pea on one side and a fork trying to catch it on the other. This is not a knock on the game's graphics, instead it just goes to show you don't need flashy unreal engines to produce an entertaining game.

Like I said before, Rhythm Heaven Fever will certainly not appeal to everyone. It's so Japanese that unless you consider yourself an Otaku or you're just extremely into any rhythm game imaginable, you will most likely look at this game with a quizzical face and ask yourself "What did I just watch??" Rhythm Heaven Fever would have been hard to recommend had it stayed $50, but at its new price of $30, it's a must buy for anyone that enjoyed the previous game on the DS, or anyone with a sense of rhythm.


About The Author
Mike Splechta GameZone's review copy hoarding D-bag extraordinaire! Follow me @MichaelSplechta
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