(WiiWare)

Helix (WiiWare)

Game Review

Helix Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Paul Schreiner

Pick up your Wii Remotes and prepare to burn off some calories in this WiiWare music rhythm game.

If you haven't yet had enough of looking foolish by moving to the groove or rocking out on toy guitars, fret not! Now there is a new way to get people to have a laugh at your expense: Helix - a curious hybrid of rhythm action and workout exercise. Like games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero, which provide the player with a good upbeat experience, Helix is also aiming to give you a good upper body workout, too. Does it actually work? This we'll have to answer with a resounding yes.

After an hour or so of play (depending on your level of dedication or masochistic tendencies) you will definitely feel the burn. Hence, we recommend doing at least a few good stretches before playing, unless you enjoy the feeling of sore arms the day after. This game is certainly not meant for the couch potato purists.

The actual mechanics of the game are fairly simple. An on-screen robot mannequin will perform moves to the beat which you have to mirror when indicated on the top's screen rhythm bar. That said, your moves will not be simultaneous with the mannequin but they'll follow subsequently. The in-game tutorial ensures that you know what needs to be done. After playing a few songs the game will encourage you to calibrate your movements by performing all move-sets, so that it can judge your moves more accurately while playing. You'll be prompted to do punches, side-jabs, uppercuts, bushwhackers, disco-style poses, and so on. Be prepared to practice some before you get them right, since it definitely takes a bit of getting used to before you can get a feel for what the game expects you to do.

Difficulty-wise, the game seems rather simple in easy mode, while medium will definitely give you a good workout. Hard, on the other hand, is not for the weak hearted or for those of you with slow reflexes; gaming sessions can become quite frantic. It is quite a feat to repeat the movements, while the robot shows you another set you'll have to perform a split-second later. As with most rhythm games, Helix gives you a health bar that will deplete as you miss moves and replenish as you correctly pull off subsequent ones. Combos (strings of successful moves) will provide you with a score multiplier.

As far as the controls are concerned, there are only two ways you can play this game: with one Wii Remote (one-handed) or two Wii Remotes (two-handed). The former is not worth anyone's while, providing quite a dull experience: Helix was definitely meant to be played with two controllers. So, if you don't have the requisite second Wii Remote you might want to pass on this purchase for now. Then again, we assume most Wii owners are in possession of at least two controllers, given the multiplayer focus of the machine. Straps may be recommended for those among you who fear for your or others' safety, although this reviewer had no trouble playing without such precautionary measures.

Regarding the question of motion-detection accuracy, there's definitely some room to fool the game by flailing randomly. Keep in mind though; you're also certain to miss many more moves that way. It's definitely more fun, satisfying, and quite a bit more successful to stick with the indicated move-set. As mentioned before, it does take some practice, but once you have it down the game can be a bundle of fun, while making you (possibly) more fit.

The music packed in with such games is definitely what makes or breaks them. Thankfully, while being of the somewhat unknown variety, the artists displayed here provide the game with an energetic and upbeat track list that fits the game quite splendidly. As an interesting and quite welcome addition, the Wii Remotes will pulse to the beat of the rhythm, giving the game quite a bit of a tactile feel. All of the music (which falls into the 'trance' genre) resembles the kind you might expect to find in modern European dance clubs. There are twenty-six songs all in all, several of which will be accessible from the get-go, while you'll have to unlock the rest by completing a certain number of songs on any of the difficulty settings. It is also noteworthy that those among you with a decent speaker system might get even more enjoyment out of the game, since the thumping of the bass will definitely get you into the swing of things.

As with most rhythm games, the graphics are far from a priority. That may be a good thing here because, overall, Helix's presentation is a bit lacklustre. It's just enough to fulfil its function, and nothing more. The "dancing" robot and the background visualiser are as grand as it gets; which is not very, obviously. On the other hand, since it won't be a distraction, one can more easily focus on imitating the displayed moves, especially when it comes to the more frantic sections. All in all, the lack of visual splendour is quite negligible.

There is also a co-op "multiplayer" mode, in which two players each take control of one of the robot's arms. Frankly, we can't see this as a drawing point for the game, but it's a nice addition regardless.

Conclusion

While some may have voiced their scepticism about this title when it was first announced, those fears can be easily set aside. As it is, Helix is a refreshing entry into the rhythm action genre and, without a doubt, one of the more worthwhile additions to WiiWare. If you weren't a fan of such titles before then we don't expect you to be won over by it, but if you enjoy a fun game that tries something different (and succeeds) then we can heartily recommend Helix to you. It is definitely worth the asking price.

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User Comments (66)

mikejonesuk

#1

mikejonesuk said:

Thanks for the comprehensive review.

I have been looking forward to this game for a while now. I am an avid user of Wii Fit and enjoy the step and jogging portions of that game. However, I feel the Wii Fit is lacking in aerobic exercise for the upper body. (I suffer from gout and get pain in my feet and knees which means that I can't always use Wii Fit effectively. ) Wii Sports tennis and boxing are good substitiutes but I think Helix will provide a much higher level of aerobic activity - as confirmed in the review.

The only problems I can see are that I still have to wait for a UK release -and I'll have to fork out for another Wii-mote.

LAA

#2

LAA said:

Well, I would have give it a 9.
I thnk its one of the best wiiware games (or the best).
I was playing it at my friends house yesterday, its just the best wiiware I've ever played!
It reminds me of Guitar Hero, only you move instead and its different music,

BDPatVCR

#3

BDPatVCR said:

Surprising score !
It's not my cup of tea i think, but it's nice to see original additions to the wiiware line-up

Cartoty

#5

Cartoty said:

I don't think it deserves an 8. I would say a 6 or 7. Its a great review anyway!

DazzaAdmin

#6

Dazza said:

Good review Paul, you really hit the nail on the head there!

I was surprised that I actually liked Helix because I am not really into this type of game normally. Manically flailing your arms around in time with the Euro trance beats in practice turns out to be a lot more fun than it first appears. Helix really has that "just one more go" factor to it. I felt as if I got a good CV workout after I finished playing!

Rawk_Hawk

#7

Rawk_Hawk said:

I'll have to add this to my list of potential purchases. Good to see some quality Wii Ware titles arriving. This is what Wii Ware is supposed to be about:)

XCWarrior

#8

XCWarrior said:

Yeah, I like the fact that it is different from anything else you can find on the market. I don't have the time (or energy) to purchase this right now, but it might be one I come back and get later on. Good review as well!

BrainDance

#9

BrainDance said:

I don't want to jinx it but, I think WiiWare is starting to find itself, it looks like, generally, more quality titles are coming out.

Nothing yet like LostWinds, (to me at least, that game was just my kind of game :P) but still, we're seeing better and better games.

Now if they can actually sell well so theres an incentive to make quality games over shovelware like pong toss.

Raptor78

#10

Raptor78 said:

im really glad that this game has been well recieved. I still dont think that I will be buying it, but its nice that the people behind Helix, who have put a lot of time and effort into trying something new and have taken time to talk to people on these boards have had their hard work well thought of.
I for one will be keeping an eye out for future ghostfire games.

Chunky_Droid

#11

Chunky_Droid said:

God I love the reviews here more than IGN, you guys know and appreciate what a game is going for. And you usually make or break most of my Wii Point decisions :).

I think I may download this game for my wife as she's after something that's not foot oriented, we've already got Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution to cover them

Wiiloveit

#15

Wiiloveit said:

The only reasons I have that hold me back from getting this is 1) I don't have much space in my bedroom (1 metre between my bed and tv) and 2) I HATE trance music. I do like the look of the game though, and so I was wondering if perhaps my two points above might make my purchase disappointing for me? Will my (bedroom) space limitations hold me back?

Oh, and that was a great review.

FJOJR

#17

FJOJR said:

It's a great game, though when you move up in difficulty it's hard to do your move and time it to the bars and view the robot to see the next move you need to do at the same time. Kinda like patting your head and rubbing your belly, but it's a good challenge for those who thrive off of that. If you like DDR then you'll like this. Not for the lazy.

CorbsAdmin

#18

Corbs said:

That was a great review Paul. And I too was surprised at how good Helix really was. After doing the interview with Ed from Ghostfire Games and finding out more about how the actual game played, I started to think that it might actually turn out pretty good. And so it did!

So I guess now we can expect it to fall off the charts in a week or so. :P

LAA

#20

LAA said:

@ WiiloveitOnline: Well I dont think it could spoil it, my friend has his wii in the living room and its about a metre from the TV to the coffee table and it played OK to me.
You dont have to move back only side to side, so I dont think thats a problem.
Also, I think the music is fantastic!
I'm not a fan of that music either, but some of the music on there is pretty good, so ghostfire games, Good Job with the music!
I think its just one of the best wiiware out and I cant wait till it comes out here!
I hope we get Helix and Plattchen, Plattchen havent been keeping their promises, "it'll be out in July" "It'll be out early-Mid August", they only have one more chance before it'll be september..., which unfortunately for the U.S, Plattchen havent kept their promise to you, lets hope they are at least capable of keeping their promise to us.

LAA

#21

LAA said:

Actually, on there website, it says its STILL IN DEVELOPMENT!
I hope this is just because they cant be bothered updating their site, because they've made a lot of promises, which so far arent being kept.

ghostfire

#22

ghostfire said:

The European version of the game is finished, and has passed lotcheck. We just didn't have time to update the web site in awhile. Its now up to date. I expect to be able to announce a release date any day now, as soon as we hear back from Nintendo of Europe.

Thanks for the feedback everyone on the game. I'd love to hear more impressions from the rest of the community.

-Ed

LAA

#23

LAA said:

@ghostfire:
Considering this was your 1st game, I'd like to say well done!
Your game is the 1st wiiware game which makes the most of the wii remotes For sure (Its uses it so much, it needs 2 remotes!).
I think your game deserved a 9 though, espically since toki tori got a 9 and that wasnt that good.

Naturestee

#24

Naturestee said:

Great review! I've been interested in Helix since I saw the first videos. I'll be picking it up soon.

@Ghostfire, congrats on the good work! What will you be working on next?

Objection

#25

Objection said:

Greta review and thanks for the high-quality game, Ghostfire! Its my birthday this weekend so I might just pick up another wiimote and a wii points card. ;) Keep it up, Ghostfire (try other genres too!)

AlexSays

#26

AlexSays said:

espically since toki tori got a 9 and that wasnt that good.

Oh my goodness...
I know a few people that would slap you silly.

The_shoemaker

#29

The_shoemaker said:

@ Wiiloveitonline

It's not like DDR or anything, you just stand in one place and move your arms, it's quite fun. But you will need a tall roof, at least one that you can't touch with your hands when your standing on the floor. (I almost knocked my light out today.) But I really do love it. The music is great, and I really do feel the burn when playing. But I have to agree, you should remember to stretch before you play. But I would have paid a few more points for something like a story mode. Going to club to club, show everybody how it's done. But I know this game was big enough already, I doubt they'd be able to fit even a few more songs in it. Great Game GhostFire, i look forward to your next ones.

Pegasus

#31

Pegasus said:

Thanks, guys. I had a good time with this review. The featured music usually isn't my cup of tea either, but it suits the game very well. My favorite artist of the bunch is Ilona Europa.

Thanks to Ghostfire for making a great game. I'm definitely looking forward to future projects of theirs.

Naturestee

#32

Naturestee said:

Quick question: Are there multiple save files for saving calilbrations? Say if my husband and I both like to play it. Or will we need to recalibrate it each time?

0-Watt

#33

0-Watt said:

@Naturestee: Yes, there are 4 different profiles. However, I believe this means that you will have to unlock the songs for each profile (85 songs to unlock the last one, too, so you have a ways to go :P )

Anyways, I played the game for about an hour and I just unlocked the 10th song. Wow! I thought 26 was not a lot, but the songs are much longer than DDR songs I've run into, so it works out! Some seem a bit long, actually, but it works well overall.

Note: the game CRASHED on me in the Tutorial after the second playthrough was complete. I don't think this'll happen again, but I'm just sending this out in case it is more widespread.

The rest of my experience was wonderful. I accidentally played "Evil Within" on Medium first try. Talk about aerobic. The game's Easy mode is hard enough for most people, and Medium is clearly best waited until after you play Easy through a couple times. Havn't tried hard yet, but I'm certain I'll be in for a bruising then.

I hope the game turns out well saleswise. I was curious about the title from the beginning, and I'm surprised to see that it has turned into a very fun title. I recommend it, and the 8 is quite deserved.

Can't wait to see what you are working on next, Ed. The team seems small, from the credits (cept the people who play tested, wow XD ), so I'm not expecting anything too quickly, but I'm hoping this small team gets more prestige soon ^^

GhostfireScott

#34

GhostfireScott said:

Scott here: I designed most of the levels for the game.

Thanks for all the feedback. I am so happy to see that people are actually able to start playing the game. I knew once we started that we were creating a unique game play experience that people would really enjoy.

Naturestee: There are mulitple slots to save your calibration, so you and others can share the game and not have to re-calibrate every time.

-Scott

Naturestee

#36

Naturestee said:

Awesome. Thanks for the info, I'm totally getting this. I'm probably the one person that was sad that Toki Tori didn't have separate save slots. I couldn't keep my hubby away from it. I wanted to unlock all my own levels, darn it!

Raptor78

#37

Raptor78 said:

@GhostfireScott
I think a big reason why people are giving this game a chance is down to the guys like you who have taken your time to come onto the boards and talk to the actual gamers and answer their questions and give us the info straight from the source.
Had your team not been so open about the information as you have been this probably would have looked like a DDR / wiifit clone but as I said the communication has been great. I think a lot of other small developers should take a leaf from your book and just mabey we would get less embaracing games (pong toss) and more innovative games like this.
Good Luck with all your future endeavours.

LAA

#38

LAA said:

@ Pegasus
Yeah, My favourite was Ilona Europa too.
I liked the Live Forever song of them.
Even if people dont like the music, (Which I do), this is the type of music which goes well with this type of game.
@ x.SuperMario.x
No Offence to anyone who liked toki tori, but I just got bored of it after 6 levels, with helix, the fun never ends!
@ Mr.chippy
Yeah, I completely agree with you, giving it an 8 is saying its not as good as toki tori, which it well is, by miles! (In My Opinion)
Also, its nice of the people who actually made the game, to see what people thought of it.

MayhemStaff

#39

Mayhem said:

Might have to consider this (if I can find what to delete to download it, cummon Nintendo, where's that exterior storage unit?! Another reason I haven't thought to download Toki Tori either!) as I have a US Wii and four remotes...

kayray

#40

kayray said:

Bought this today -- our first WiiWare download! We've had hours of fun already. It works well for me to focus on the robot and feel the rhythm in the wiimotes (nice feature!), and time my moves for when it feels right with the beat of the music. I only look at the top bar with my peripheral vision.

Yeah, I'm not into trance music usually, but it is fun to dance to :)

danik

#41

danik said:

I always thought this would be good and i think it will do well, shall be getting once its released in europe. Glad to see a good variety of games coming out for wiware now. Thnaks for a good review and a great site.

kayray

#43

kayray said:

@WarioFan63 I just saw the IGN review. Wow, harsh! Glad I read this review first or I might have missed out on this fun little game.

CanisWolfred

#46

CanisWolfred said:

@WarioFan63

I just read it, and you're right, it was pretty harsh. There wasn't even much substance to it either, all we know from reading it is that you'll look like an idiot if you play it, even though imo, you look like more of an idiot playing DDR, Guitar Hero, or (yick)Singstar, which he continuously compared it to. That was just a bad review overall, and the worst thing is I had just called Daemon, who wrote that review, the best reviewer there. That was honestly the fourth bad review I read there today. I think I'll stop reading their reviews for the time being.

As an interesting note, somebody in the comment section under that review left a link for this site.

jessy

#47

jessy said:

Add me to the chorus singing the praises of this game. As soon as I got home from work on Tuesday I downloaded this and started playing. Major kudos to Ghostfire especially for the calibrate function. It's an really innovative feature (and without it I would've "hit the wall" already).

DazzaAdmin

#48

Dazza said:

IGN are crazy for giving this 4.3 out of 10. I really enjoy this game myself, but what surprised me most is that even my wife who generally hates videogames enjoyed playing this for quite a while last night. In fact she found it hard to put the Wiimotes down it was that addictive for her! :D

For just $10 it is pretty hard to see how anyone could think that badly of Helix.

Sonic_Spin08

#49

Sonic_Spin08 said:

Yes, IGN was stupid giving it a 4/10. It is extrememly addictive and if you actually do the motions its realy fun! They are going around only flailing your arms...

calculon

#50

calculon said:

So, IGN got it wrong and WiiWare World, through rose-tinted glasses must have got the score wrong too.

I'm sorry, but I'd only want to look like a jerk once - on my own - playing this game and certainly wouldn't invite anyone else to play it unless they had some obnoxious desire to see an Amiga demo with motion controls tacked on.

Ugh, why the hell are you guys rating games like this so high? Please give it the score it deserves: 6, 7 maximum. No credible reviewer would sell their soul just to fob viewers off on these half-arsed games. Are you trying to make us think they're wonderful or are some of these scores simply typos?

Quite frankly I'm starting to find WiiWare World's reviews just as unbelievable as IGN. Being overly positive about games is just as bad as being unnecessarily critical.

DazzaAdmin

#52

Dazza said:

@calculon - If you think it deserves 6 or 7 that is your opinion, but you only need to read the comments above to see the majority agree with this WiiWare World verdict :-p

Ricardo91

#53

Ricardo91 said:

@Wariofan. I read the review before, and it was a little harsh. The music I heard in the video they had wasn't as good as, say, Ferry Corsten, but it wasn't that bad. I heard music from arcade DDRs that's much worse. And if they think this game makes them feel stupid, they should try Warioware: Smooth Moves. :P

However, being the stingy Wii point spender that I am, I might pass on this, as $10 seems a bit steep for a game with only one mode. Might've invested if it was $6-$8 though.

Forsooth_and_Pi

#54

Forsooth_and_Pi said:

I had never heard of this game until today, and I wanted to get it as soon as I saw it; the fact that it received a great score just makes me want it more. :)

I've been cautious about downloading WiiWare games, partly because I found none of them that interesting, but mostly because I've been growing bored with the direction of most platformers and shooters, as most hot games seem to be at this point. For the past year I've been playing more rhythm games than anything else, so I'm sure that I'll find something in here that is worth the music. Especially since I'm a fan of trance.

Heck, I paid $13 for Elite Beat Agents, and I thought it stunk, so I'd gladly pay $10 for this, even if it's mediocre. ;)

graitu

#55

graitu said:

@calculon: Not everyone is going to like it, so it's your opinion. Honestly, I think that since this could either be a appealing or not appealing game, so that it should have gotten a score between 6 to 8. IGN's review, though, is pretty much BS. I've always thought their reviews were pretty bad, so I never listen to them. I was questioning on how GameSpot gave SBCG4AP a 5/10, but that thought came out after seeing that review. I prefer using the 5-point integer system, so I would've given this game a 4/5.

Forsooth_and_Pi

#57

Forsooth_and_Pi said:

I downloaded the game yesterday, making it the first WiiWare title I ever purchased, and I must say I am very satisfied with the game. The game seems to focus more on the rhythm of the motion rather than the direction, so keeping up with the beat seems to be the most important factor. Either way, even without calibrating the wiimote(s) the controls worked fine, and following the robot is easier and more fun than trying to trick the game into accepting a similar, though different, move.

My only problem with the game so far is that a lot of the songs sound the same, but perhaps that means that I haven't played them enough to notice the nuanced differences between them.

xSJx

#59

xSJx said:

@Forsooth
You didn't like elite beat agents? I thought that game was hilarious, and the gameplay was pretty engaging as far as rhythm action games go. Ah well, to each his own :).

As for Helix, this game is sweet. The music is good, and they packed in a lot of songs considering the size limit on wiiware games. Next time I have people over drinking I'll have to bust this game out and see how people like it, I'm sure it will be a gong show :p.

@Mr. Cheez
Do you really expect 20+ songs with ferry corsten quality in a ten dollar game? I actually quite like the music in Helix. Good taste in music BTW.

Jazzem

#60

Jazzem said:

This is a game that really needs a demo, as I don't know if I'll like it or not and don't really want to spend £7 to find out. Are Nintendo not allowing demos?

teel

#61

teel said:

Yay, I've been waiting for Helix to show up in Europe too. This was an instant download on friday, been straining my poor arms ever since. I really enjoy it, don't have much chance to work out otherwise. I preordered Wii Fit, but while I'm waiting for it to be available in stores here, Helix will fill that gap :)

dangermouseuk78

#63

dangermouseuk78 said:

i think this is a great game well done to ghostfire for makin and entertaining game. R:E O-Watt's comment the game also locked up on me once or twice on the tutorial that was the first play of game not done since. also it did lock up on tryin exit the game once as well but has done that again since either so other than that its is a good game.

Kirk

#65

Kirk said:

I think this game looks like it would be fun to play, as long as the controls are responsive and reliable, but it's the look of the game that puts me off buying it. I just don't like the visuals and it kind of looks a bit like a student or free online game in terms of the art, character design and style.

It might be shallow and it might make me a bit of a graphics whore but I really do have to like a games visuals if I'm going to enjoy it. That doesn't mean I can only play HD next gen games, because I still love my SNES titles etc, and it's more that I just need strong art direction and an appealing art style as well as a high level of polish in my visuals.

I really think the art team has improved a lot with their next game, Rage of the Gladiator, and so if they ever decided to make a sequel to this game I would like to seem them produce a similar level of graphic quality and art style as that seen in ROTG.

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