Review – Rhythm Heaven

April 24, 2009 — 3 Comments

Originally published in The Daily Toreador.

If you’ve played any games in the “WarioWare” series, or perhaps “Work Time Fun” on the Sony PSP, you might look at “Rhythm Heaven” on the Nintendo DS and say, “Oh, it’s like that.”

Or, if you’ve played some of the more bizarre rhythm games out there, like “Parappa the Rapper” or “Elite Beat Agents,” you might find it similar to those.

In reality, “Rhythm Heaven” is a bit of both. It’s a mini-game collection in which all of the bizarre mini-games involve rhythm. On one hand, this is an extremely simple premise with extremely simple gameplay. But on the other hand, it’s highly addictive fun and a fantastic package.

To play, you hold your DS sideways, and the game is controlled entirely by simple stylus actions. Tapping, holding and “flicking” are pretty much the only actions you will perform.

The trick is to do these actions in time with music, as well as on-screen cues. For example, in the first stage, you’re building “things” (the game never says what), by flicking your stylus when the “do-re-mi” tune reaches “sol.” This launches a metal rod into two pieces of metal with holes in them. You know, to build “things.”

Other games have you filling up robots, playing ping-pong, and singing in a choir.

But be careful. If you’re playing with your eyes and not your ears, it will be easy to screw up. This isn’t a game for people without rhythm, if you couldn’t guess that from the name.

But whether you’re a musical prodigy or can’t hold a tune to save your life, you will probably still find the game to be challenging – maybe even to the point of frustration. Some players will relish the challenge and appreciate the added replay value, while others may just turn the game off and put it away.

Considering that this is a rhythm game, it’s important to note that the music holds up. This certainly isn’t “Rock Band,” but the tunes can be pretty catchy, and they certainly serve their purpose.

What’s great about the mini-game format, though, is that it’s extremely easy to pick up and play. While writing this review, I’ve picked up my DS twice to try to improve my score on a stage – a process that took no longer than 5 minutes.

This makes it perfect for playing between classes, or can serve as a quick, fun diversion from studying for finals.

Playing stages well will earn you medals, and these medals unlock little bonus toys hidden away in one of the game’s menus. They aren’t exactly games and they don’t serve a ton of purpose, but they’re fun to mess around with at least once or twice.

One of the first toys you unlock, for example, is a little challenge to see how many times you can flick your stylus in time to keep an on-screen hand flicking a coin into the air without dropping it.

Some may argue that a more budget price tag of around $20 would be a much better choice than the current $35, but that aside, “Rhythm Heaven” is a great addition to the DS game library.

It’s simple, but fun and addictive, and great for short gameplay sessions.

Britton Peele

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Freelance video game critic for sites like GameSpot and GamesRadar. Amateur fantasy author.

3 responses to Review – Rhythm Heaven

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