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Rhythm Heaven Fever - Wii Review

Game Info
Rhythm Heaven Fever

Wii | Nintendo / TNX / Tsunku | 1-2 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now (North America)
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote
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Review
13th February 2012; By Patrick

When
Rhythm Heaven Fever was announced in Japan (under the name of Minnano Rizumo Tengoku) early last year, I freaked out and instantly began championing the title. "This game will be amazing!" I cried. I absolutely loved both the GBA and DS iterations in the series (only the latter ever saw an international release), and imported the Japanese version of Minnano Rizumo Tengoku when it released last summer. Now, with Rhythm Heaven Fever releasing in North America, I have gone through the localized version, and am ecstatic to finally be able to bring you my review!

    For those uninitiated into the series, the game falls into the genre that I dub "Wacky-ass Japanese Rhythm Games". Fever brings to the table fifty all-new rhythm games, each one being weirder than the last. Gameplay is always simple, but is never simplistic in the slightest. The series is known for its high difficulty and cute visuals, and this game is no exception. All gameplay is handled with either the A Button, or both A and B pressed simultaneously. The decision to not move to motion controls was a fantastic one, as anything but button controls would have been too imprecise, as we found out with Rhythm Heaven on the DS. One might wonder exactly how responsive the buttons are, however, with the remote being connected to the Wii through Bluetooth. The button presses are registered just as fast as the GBA version, and the precision required in the games can be scary sometimes.

    The variation between the various mini-games is great. Some of the least weird activities involve hitting golf balls given to you by simians, sorting candy from spiders in a factory, or helping rockets launch from a countdown timer. Weirder ones include a monkey on a watch hand high-fiving other monkeys as the hand moves, interviewing a...verbose wrestler, and whatever the heck "Donk-Donk" is. There are a few "duplicates" in the game, which here means mini-games that return for a second time, harder and with a new song. Even with this in mind, the variety present always keeps the game fresh and is extremely appreciated.

    The levels are split up into ten groups of five; four entirely separate mini-games, and then a Remix stage. For the first seven remixes, the stage takes the previous four mini-games, unifies them in theme, and has you quickly alternating between the gameplay styles. This provides an examination of sorts and is pulled off especially well; even more so in remix stages set to lyrical songs. Remixes eight and nine grab mini-games from anywhere in the package, while remix ten uses at least one segment from every previous game.

    Once you finish a mini-game, you will be graded. The text in the grade is almost always silly and nonsensical, but there are three scoring types: "Try Again", "OK", and "Superb!". With Try Again, as you might expect, you did not successfully pass the mini-game and must try it again. OK means that you did not really do that well, but you did well enough to pass and move to the next mini-game. Superb means that you had few to no errors, and also awards you with a precious Medal. Collecting Medals is how you unlock bonuses, and mini-games with Medals are also eligible for a Perfect Chance.


    Perfect Chances are when the game will randomly select a mini-game with a Medal, then give you three chances to complete the mini-game without a single error. Playing other mini-games counts as a chance, as does exiting the mini-game once you fail, so you have to be careful! The words "Go for a Perfect!" also flash on the upper left-hand corner of the screen as a further distraction, which also adds a certain degree of pressure to the situation.

    There is no length of time that I can provide to help you gauge how long the game will take you. My first playthrough of the Japanese version took me about four to six hours to complete every mini-game, two more to get Medals on all 50, and another eight hours to get all the Perfects. On the English version however, I completed all 50 mini-games getting Medals on all of them within about two hours. This is evidence that you
will get better at the game, yet also makes it very difficult to give a proper estimate on how long the game will last.

    Outside of the mini-games, there are five different types of extras to keep your attention and keep you coming back for more. The first is the Café, where you can talk to the Barista, perform a Rhythm Test (something you're required to do upon starting for the first time), listen to music, or read unlocked literature. The music and literature are obtained by getting Perfects, and you get one or the other. The music is just the mini-game's song that you can listen to without having to worry about gameplay, while the literature is usually just funny text from within the context of the mini-game (such as a brochure advertising the rockets from Launch Party).


    After the Café, there are also Rhythm Toys and Endless Games. The Rhythm Toys are just little things to play around with from time to time. If they entertain you, then their presence is a bonus, yet if they do not, they are easily ignorable. There are also four Endless Games, each with varying degrees of difficulty. In one of them, you have to jump over an ever-quickening metronome hand; in another, you have to stop a clock at the right time to wake up an owl. In my favourite, you control Munchy Monk from the DS game, however instead of eating, you are using your mouth to propel the food into one of the game’s three hosts.

    The fourth unlockable area of the game is the Bonus Games. These require the most medals (the easiest to unlock requires a full 35!), yet I believe they are fully worth it. The Bonus Games, described as "sure to make fans happy", do just that. These are four of the most popular games from the never-localized GBA release. All four games are great fun, yet don't count for any unlocking or Medals as they are simply a bonus.

    The final extra is 2P Mode, which allows you to play eight of the mini-games with one other friend, as well as introduces four unique Endless Games. While at first you might complain about how only eight of the games will support any form of multiplayer, you will quickly realize that if multiplayer was introduced to any other game, it would change it too much and be a negative inclusion rather than a positive one. I personally had a great deal of fun with the game's multiplayer, but even more fun is watching someone else play the single-player, or having someone watch you. This form of make-shift "multiplayer" is a great way to be involved without picking up a controller, as it is always interesting to see where someone else will mess up.


    In addition to the catchy rhythms and fantastic music, the art style also bears mentioning. As you can see in stills, it's very simple, using bold colours with thick outlines to be easy on the eyes while still being visually striking. In motion, however, the animations in the game are incredibly strong and fluid, making the game just a treat to look at. Added to the fact that you get a funny animation every time you mess up, the visuals never seem to grow old.

    The biggest point of controversy with the Western release of
Rhythm Heaven Fever will without a doubt be the localization. I can happily confirm that everything but one mini-game made the international release. The one missing mini-game is the Endless Game, Manzai, which was clearly never going to make it over in the first place. The game was replaced with Mr. Upbeat, the aforementioned Endless Game involving a metronome hand. With the exception of this change, all gameplay is identical to the Japanese release.

    While gameplay remains identical, much of the vocal work was obviously dubbed into English. For newcomers, the English voices will not be a significant problem in the slightest. For those that played or extensively followed the Japanese release, you may be initially distracted by the new voices and lyrics (especially in the Karate Man games, where the key of the music itself changes), yet you will have no problem getting into them, and will probably end up laughing at some of the funny translations (Honto [really] to Fo' sho'!).

    Throughout my entire playthrough of both the Japanese and English versions, I struggled to find fault with Rhythm Heaven Fever. I had several of my friends jump into it too, and musically inclined or not, they all had a blast. Whether they fell in love with the music, the gameplay, or even the cute animations, not a single one of my friends wanted to put the game down. I wouldn't call the game the best video game ever made, but it achieves every single thing it sets out to do fantastically. And with that, I can only think of one score to give it.


30/30 - Outstanding

Gameplay 10/10 - Controls extremely tight, many different types of gameplay with only two different control options, remix system pulled off seamlessly
Presentation 10/10 - Cute animations and beautiful art style, catchy rhythms that fit perfectly with the fantastic music, fluid animations throughout
Enjoyment 5/5 - A blast to play from start to finish, great to play around other people, enjoyable regardless of musical background
Extra Content 5/5 - Easily replayable, 50 games, multiplayer, Endless Games, Rhythm Toys, GBA games, Perfect Challenges, unlockable literature

Equivalent to a score of 100% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System


Review by Patrick



Rhythm Heaven Fever
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