Rhythm Heaven Fever: Keep on keeping the beat

February 24, 2012

From kicking a ball away from a bunch of gophers on a date, to interviewing a muscular wrestler and posing for the fans, to high-fiving monkeys in a watch, Rhythm Heaven Fever is as ridiculous as it is quirky. And I mean that in the best possible way.

This game in particular manages to capture something that many rhythm games attempt to do. While games like Guitar Hero/Rock Band or even Dance Dance Revolution force you to respond to the music visually, Rhythm Heaven Fever manages to capture players with sound cues through the character’s actions. Think of it like Space Channel 5, but they’re not yelling the commands directly at you. There’s always some sort of steep learning curve with rhythm games, but Nintendo managed to make the gameplay simple enough for almost anyone to pick up. Many of the games require you to either hit the A button or both the A and B button.

Each set contains four songs and a remix to wrap things up. The remix is a compilation of previous challenges in the set, and tests your ability on how well you know each of them in a rapid-fire way. While the game does have its difficulty spikes, this is one game you can’t blame on controls. If you fail (which you will, when you first play a couple of the stages), you can blame it on your inability to keep the beat.

The game’s graphics and sound are both used to draw you in, as well as throw you off. In various levels, you’ll experience tempo changes and intentionally-offbeat rhythms, forcing you to quickly adjust. Visually, you’ll notice your task being blocked out by stuff that fits in extremely well to the setting. For example, in “Samurai Slice,” you’ll see a story overlap the task at hand about why The Wandering Samurai is fighting demons to begin with. With your visual cues being obscured, you have to rely on the sound cues to lead you through the end of the song.

All in all, the game’s task is simple. Get through each stage with at least an “OK” grade and move on. However, a bulk of the game involves you earning medals (which are earned by making minimal mistakes) and unlocking various extras. The game also packs in four challenges remastered from the Japan-only GBA version. There’s a bunch to unlock by perfecting each game as well, so that will keep you busy for a while. Still, the game doesn’t take longer than a few hours to beat if you’re just pushing through it. Thankfully, the game is priced at a budget-friendly $30.

With a beautiful soundtrack and visuals to match, you can’t go wrong picking this game up for the Wii. The game is quirky and fun, and has an undeniable charm that many games today don’t have.

Pros: Beautiful visuals, amazing soundtrack, budget price
Cons: A bit short, could be easy for rhythm game fanatics

Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.