The 'Shroom:Issue XXXV/Non-Marioverse Review
My first review for this new decade is for Rhythm Heaven, also sometimes referred to as "Rhythm Tengoku Gold" in Japan.
Rhythm Heaven is a rhythm game, as the title suggests, and no doubt about it, it's a very inspired one. It's also very quirky, but that's a hallmark of Japanese games (an Italian plumber going down oversized pipes and eating mushrooms to grow taller is an example of a quirky Japanese game that you'll all be familiar with). With 100+ games, you'll be glued to Rhythm Heaven for quite a while.
Starting with "Built-to-Scale", you slowly advance from game-to-game. You can either breeze through them all and keep beating one game after the other, or you can take your time to get a Superb or even a Perfect (if the chance comes up) score on the games. You can't move on to the next game unless you get at least an "OK" rank. This may sound intimidating for the more casual gamers, but the Cafe feature allows you to skip any games you're having difficulty with, after you've failed one three times in a row.
At the end of each section, there is a Remix game. This is a neat idea. Basically, it takes all the games you've played in that section and mixes them all together in a new song. There are some remix songs that are beautifully done, not just in terms of the game but as musical pieces themselves. A couple that come to mind are Remix 3 and Remix 8.
The control scheme of Rhythm Heaven is surprisingly simple, considering the vast amount of activities found within each game. All you need to know is how to tap and flick, and you're set. The controls are very, very sensitive, which allows for extremely coordinated play.
Every now and then, a chance for getting a "Perfect" rank on a game will pop up. This means you can't make a single mistake; everything must be perfectly on-time. It depends on the player of course, but it comes naturally for some games, while for others it's a painstaking process. For those lucky enough to score a Perfect, there's a gift waiting in store, usually something to read. This drives the player's incentive to get Perfects and Superbs on games, adding to the replay value.
Rhythm Heaven is one of those games that proves you don't need depth to have a fun game, another prime example being Tetris. You don't need to know how to lead an entire army to the waterfall. You don't need to understand how point systems work. You don't need to know any of that. All you need is a good stylus and a keen sense of rhythm and the game is perfectly fun.
Speaking of which, getting really involved in a rhythm can be infectiously fun. You'll want to bob your head back and forth for at least a few of the games, trust me.
Rhythm Heaven is a tight rhythm game, possibly the greatest I have played. If you love quirky minigames or want to challenge your sense of rhythm, this is a strong recommendation.