although i’m a pretty big nintendo fanboy, i only occasionally feel compelled to get a game the day it’s released. however, i’ve been a fan of the rhythm heaven series ever since i played the original japanese-only GBA release. i found the controls in the DS follow-up to be less immediately satisfying, so i was looking forward to the return to buttons only in the latest release in the series, rhythm heaven fever for wii.
the game is structured exactly the same as the DS version, even down to the number of songs and remixes (50). the formula is solid, though, and the addition of a multiplayer mode (albeit a fairly barebones one) helps change things up a bit. although the games are technically all new, quite a few reuse setups from previous games (such as the wandering samurai, the robot factory, and the widget factory to name a few), and others are variations of previous mechanics (e.g. a game of badminton in planes as opposed to table tennis from the last game). this makes the game feel more familiar overall than a completely new entry in the series should. another thing i had really enjoyed about the previous game was the cameos of characters from its predecessor; such cameos are notably underemphasized here, although the game does feature four songs from the original GBA game as a bonus for obtaining perfect medals. re: the emphasis on perfection, i’m still not completely sold on that as a mechanic, but i’ve grown to accept it since its 3-strikes-and-you’re-out premise does give you more tension and thus reward than unlimited tries. my other main complaint is that the final song, remix 10, is notably more stringent in its requirements for getting a medal than the rest of the game, which was rather annoying.
despite the familiarity, there’s certainly a range of new, oftentimes fairly sophisticated, rhythms to master. one of the big draws for me in the games is the warioware series-like wackiness and whimsy, and despite some occasional dullness there’s a good amount on display here, with the clear favorite being the back-stage interview with a wrestler (which may be on its way to becoming an internet meme, as evidenced by a few parody videos such as this one). i wouldn’t say it reaches the heights of the original which had clapping lions with afros and tap-dancing monkeys (with a giraffe providing support), but the advantage of having the experience on a TV screen instead of a handheld means that this will make for a great party game and i’ll get the chance to show this great series off to others. it’s also great to see that even this late in the wii’s lifecycle it still has some high-quality games to offer, with even more on the way.
whoa! you go, big guy! check out these rhythm heaven fever links:
– the official site has a load of wallpapers. the japanese site has some different ones as well.
– iwata asks entry
– review at gonintendo.com, and some comments from famitsu’s review (apparently the series is a big hit in japan)
– interview with tsunku at wired.com. apparently one of the songs from the last game has been performed live, haha.
– the differences in the localized songs is always interesting. the comparison of the english and japanese “cheer readers” song is particularly entertaining.
– list of unlockables at gamefaqs