continuing on my DS kick i finished up my initial playthrough of rhythm heaven (aka rhythm heaven gold in japan). i had really enjoyed its predecessor, rhythm tengoku, when i played it late last year, and even though i had just finished that game, at that time i went ahead and tried out the DS sequel. in the review of the original i said, “even though it is a sequel from a company notorious for not tinkering with well-established formulas, it all feels a bit too same-y to me, and the humor and scenarios don’t seem quite as crazy and off-the-wall as the original.” turns out my initial reaction didn’t change much throughout my time with the game.
the game feels inferior to the original in several other ways as well. the difficulty progression isn’t as smooth; the songs aren’t as catchy; some of the controls feel unresponsive (in particular the moai statues songs); and the timing in general feels less precise, perhaps due to the controls which are less immediate than a simple button press. the reprises (where songs are repeated with variations) were also less interesting (although that may just be due to my general feeling of sequelitis), and i also missed the more cohesive groupings of the original. as with the original, the emphasis on getting perfects on each song is somewhat annoying, but although that gameplay mechanic is barely tolerable for shorter songs, some of the songs in this game are just too long, and being forced to get a perfect on them makes the game much more frustrating than fun.
as for positives, the game itself is fun overall and i did appreciate the cameos from the first game. it’s great to see this, the first (and hopefully not last!) rhythm heaven game to be released outside of japan. the reception seems to have been good, so although this one wasn’t as great as its predecessor, here’s hoping the series continues. while i’m waiting i’ll probably check out beat city, also on DS, by THQ, and apparently featuring similar gameplay.
silver rhythmic links:
– review at gonintendo
– FAQ at gamefaqs
– official japanese site including wallpapers
– official US site including link to the iwata asks feature
– entry at metacritic
– entry at wikipedia
– i still find it strange that beyonce was the celebrity promoter for the game. here’s a link to the commercial.