Game Review

Rhythm Heaven Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Stuart Reddick

Take a trip to heaven, Nintendo style!

Simplicity in game design is often a double-edged sword. On the positive side, the player is provided with a sleek and easy to understand interface. However, this often has an equally negative impact on the depth of the experience and what you’re left with is a quick 'pick up and play' variety of game. With Rhythm Heaven however, simplicity fuses with a surprising amount of content, providing a basic concept with tons of play. Get ready to get your tap on, because this is one DS title you won’t want to miss.

Created by the same deranged minds behind the best-selling WarioWare series, Rhythm Heaven is a compilation of short rhythm based mini-games. Each game has its own concept, and occasionally its own back-story. One game will have you fuelling up robots, while another has you controlling a simian cheer squad at a pop concert. Regardless of the setting, your job is to tap and flick your stylus on the touch screen in coordination with the beat and the action on the other screen. Simple as that may sound, you’ll soon find out how much variety this game contains. With the altering music and scenarios, you’ll never feel like you’re stuck in a repetitive rut.

Completing each game and unlocking the next will not always present a significant challenge, but the player is also tasked with mastering each one in order to earn a medal. This will take quite a bit of practice, and you’ll find yourself replaying each stage a number of times before getting it just right. Getting a perfect rating can be painstaking, but it is also very rewarding. Earned medals can be spent to unlock extras like rhythm toys and endless rhythm games. Between these extras and the core experience you’re assured a huge amount of value for your money.

Keeping with the theme of simplicity comes the game's visual presentation. The graphics by no means push the DS hardware to its limits, but it suits the quirky style of the game perfectly. Like the scenarios that will change with each game, the graphics also change depending on what mini-game you’re playing. Some feature basic 3D models, while others have a hand-drawn look to them. In a game like Rhythm Heaven, the key importance is on the gameplay, so even if you’re not fond of the visual style you likely won't feel any slack on your enjoyment.

One area that certainly doesn’t skimp on detail is the games audio portion. The quality of the music is superb, whether you’re listening with the DS speakers or keeping it to yourself with a set of headphones. Staying in line with the crazy amount of variety in the title, the music also changes drastically with each mini game. It’s all catchy, fun, and easy to get into. Some songs feature lyrics which have obviously been translated into English for release outside of Japan. Most will argue that the original voice-overs were superior, and perhaps that’s true. The new ones get the job done though, and if you've not played the Japanese version then it won't present a problem.

To further prove the games emphasis on music, Rhythm Heaven also includes an extra area to listen to unlocked tunes and even get guitar lessons. Strange as that may be, it feels right at home in this weird but wonderful package. If you’re feeling washed out on all of the taping and stylus swiping, this area provides a nice break to keep players interested.

Simplicity doesn’t come without cost however. A couple of small issues arise due to an oversimplified interface. For one thing, there is no restart option when playing a game. Instead you’ll have to quit to the menu, and re-enter the game again. Once or twice and this isn’t a bother, but do it several times after repeated mistakes and you’ll be wishing the short cut was added in. Another similar complaint is that every time you enter a game you’ll be automatically thrown into the appropriate tutorial. It can be skipped, but why not have an option to opt out of repeating the same lessons? Minor inconveniences, but noteworthy ones all the same.


Rhythm Heaven is the epitome of simple game design, yet it never feels half-hearted in any regard. It’s bound to raise some eyebrows due to its strange sense of humour and a bare bones presentation, but it still stands as one of the finest titles to grace the Nintendo DS. It’s packed full of content and will keep even the most experienced gamers playing for a good length of time due to its deep replay value. If you own a DS you owe it to yourself to try this amazing game. Heaven never sounded so sweet.

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User Comments (44)



Bahamut_ZERO said:

Im very glad that this got a 9. I was on the fence about this one, but its good to hear its great. Its not at the top of my list, and it looks like a good pick-up and play thing, so ill probably get it this summer for those long trips to my family.



Mopsical said:

I thought the new voiceovers were going to ruin it (especially after that DTOID article), but now I'll definitely get it when it comes out here as 'Rhythm Paradise'.



thewiirocks said:

**Looks satisfyingly at the score and leans back into chair**

Ah, it's a good time to be a Nintendo player.

**chair breaks**




Olimar_91 said:


Maybe I'm just too easy, I can't say for sure. I know a lot of people were complaining about the new voice-overs, but I didn't find them too bad at all. In fact, my favorite game so far is the Pop Star one, which has lyrics in it.

I should also mention that I wasn't opposed to singing along with the Mona Pizza theme song.

In my head of course.



Dazza said:

@Lode Runner - Hello there, welcome to the site. Why not upload yourself an avatar and join the party?



Lode_Runner said:

@Dazza: Thanks for the warm welcoming . btw I don't know how to upload an avatar . I'm really new to this tipe of thing.



theblackdragon said:

it's the first game i picked up for my DSi, and i'm glad to see it got a favorable review. i like how the graphics are very simple and clean (and random, lol), and yet they really did put a lot of detail into it. a very addictive game so far. :3



Drake said:

I keep hearing it's not as good as the original (Which is hard to do since, after all, it was perfect), but I'll definitely pick it up when it's out in Europe.



Adam said:

I haven't played this or the original, but the first one certainly looked better (both visually, and looked like it played better).

Are there any songs from the original?



Red_Yoshi said:

A nice review. Hopefully, this game coming very fast to european retailers. I love this game.



World_1-1 said:

Great review. I played the demo on the Nintendo Channel and really loved it, so I'll be buying this alongside a DSi sometime soon.



Pegasus said:

I love this game! I can't remember the last time I've laughed so much while playing a game. Oddball scenarios, simple but fun gameplay, and catchy tunes. Good times.



-TR said:

I've had an eye on this since the Japanese realise of the GBA version. I officially can't wait.



iSonic said:

When I played the demo of this game, I was in "heaven". (bad pun, I know) This game is set high on my wish list!



cheeseman said:

The demo of this game was so fun that... umm... err... elephants would enjoy it. Sorry, my mind is pretty much broken right now



alvieao said:

Made by the WarioWare team, it's the sequel to the Japan-only Rhythm Tengoku. I first played the DS demo and was impressed by it; even my sister liked it too. Eventually I bought the game not too long ago; it's fantastic, addictive and FUN! My sister and her friends got into Rhythm Heaven as well. You'll want to perfect those stages in order to unlock new songs. The variety is just insane that you'll be replaying now, again and later. Buy this game!



Monkeh said:

This game is super awesome! Been having lots of fun playing this with my friends.



fiddle56 said:

demo= great, fun, and the longest ds demo ive played
game= TERRIBLE,AWFUL, and im just kidding! i wouldnt be caught dead saying those words, this game is the most, greatest, addictting, satisfing, replay valued.... what am i talking about? oh right, this game is truly heaven!



LztheQuack said:

This game is very addicting, not to mention it's a music game with an original soundtrack.



PristineQueen said:

really cool game. i had great fun with this game and after playing i would catch myself singing the songs. i traded it in after i had completed it, but i wish it was something i would have kept it around.



paperskyx said:

This game is great. I love it so much! After I bought it, I couldn't put it down! Now after unlocking all of the games, there are still goals to meet, because I keep trying to get medals to unlock more mini-games in the Rewards gallery. Great game!!



Poketendo said:

I really don't think this game is that great. It's great if you all love it, but it's not for me.

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