Review: Rhythm Heaven Fever
By: Zach Chovan
Rhythm Heaven Fever is the sequel to Rhythm Heaven, which debuted in North America on the DS, but it's actually the third game in this quirky series. The first game appeared on the Game Boy Advance in 2006 and was only seen in Japan. The games focus on a series of mini-games based around music and rhythm, and it ardently challenges your skills of keeping to the beat.
Unlike its DS predecessor, Rhythm Heaven Fever features no motion controls, stylus pointing, or gesturing to play. In a strange but understandable move, this Wii game is button-pressing only. Two buttons, to be exact. In any given rhythm game, you're either pressing A, pressing A+B together, or using a mixture to keep to the beat. The games are challenging and most of them are a ton of fun, but there are a few stinkers. There are a couple I can think of (I'm looking at you, Love Rap) that still make me wonder how they got past quality assurance. Maybe I'm just completely inept, but the two or three games that just completely stumped me to the point of frustration really brought down the flow of the game for me (oddly enough, this game measures your rhythmic flow), as I would be stuck for an unproportionally long period of time before I could progress. Very discouraging. My guess would be that some of the beats just don't vibe with some people. I'm sure some people out there had no problem with these, but I still wonder if it was me or the design of these particular games.
Other than these couple hiccups, most of the games are great. Some are genuinely genius and I find myself going back to them all the time, while others I'm simply neutral toward.
As you progress through the game, it naturally becomes more difficult with each rhythm game you unlock. Once you complete the entire game, the game opens up harder versions of each of them. These can get extremely difficult, but others are rather easy depending on how your brain is rhythmically wired (I'm telling you, this is a factor!). If you get into it, you'll find yourself having a ton of fun the second time around.
The English localization is rather good this time. I think many would agree it was pretty subpar for the DS Rhythm Heaven. Some of the catchy tunes will have you humming and singing along, while others will have your eyes rolling. As a whole, a much better effort than on the DS.
Another complaint for me has been the way the game scores you. You either fail, pass, get a medal, or get a "Perfect" score. This is fine, but it only allows you to get a "Perfect" at random times, and you only get 3 chances to do this before the opportunity is gone until the next time the game decides you can get it. This means that even if you do perfectly on a game that isn't up for a "Perfect", you don't get the Perfect medal. It's somewhat of a bummer, but I understand it's to put the pressure on (which, for me, is bad because I work much better without the pressure).
If you get into this game, I'm sure you'll find yourself coming back to try and get all the games unlocked, all the medals you can manage to gather, and all the extras unlocked, of which there a plenty. "Endless" rhythm games, unlockable music, 2-player mode (which is fun), rhythm "toys", and more make up this game's extras. They're fun, but I ultimately lost interest in them rather quickly to find myself going back to the main games.
Rhythm Heaven isn't for everyone, though. Some might not be able to handle its unique and quirky artstyle while others may just find this kind of gameplay completely unenjoyable. Guitar Hero this game is not. It's a very different approach to music gaming from your standard Guitar Hero or Rock Band affair, but a lot of fun to play.