(3DS eShop)

Groove Heaven (3DS eShop)

Game Review

Groove Heaven Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Some call me “The Human Metronome”

It seems as though rhythm games have really taken off in the past few years, especially on the 3DS. Retail titles have popped up, such as Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, and more recently the eShop has been receiving musical exclusives such as the wonderfully charming Harmoknight. Now Teyon, a publisher that's no stranger to the 3DS eShop, is marching to the beat with the release of Groove Heaven.

At its core, this game is a platformer with light puzzle elements mixed in. The thing that sets Groove Heaven apart from others in its genre is that all of your actions must be performed in time with a consistent rhythmic beat. Using a series of still comic panels and blocks of text, Groove Heaven tells the story of a Devil Lord living in Hell who falls in love with a Goddess up in Heaven. Apparently Devil Lords aren’t very welcome at the pearly gates, so he decides to send a small devil named Rhymi — your sole playable character — to deliver a rose to the Goddess in his stead. It’s a functional plot that is used loosely to give the gameplay meaning, but it never goes any further than that, and it never explains why Groove Heaven is a rhythm game rather than a more straightforward puzzle platformer.

Your actions are limited to just two buttons — which can be mapped to L and R, Y and A, or two icons on the 3DS’s touchscreen — one to move you forward and the other to turn you around. Attempt either of these maneuvers out of rhythmic time, and you will experience a momentary shock, leaving you open to attack from a passing cat or a bouncing frog. Beyond that, there is no real penalty for not keeping the beat, and you will quickly learn that this is a very forgiving game. As you progress through the stages you will have the chance to pick up music notes that earn you an extra life when five are collected, and roses that serve as collectibles for perfectionists, but have no real in-game value. The gameplay remains simple and consistent throughout.

While some of the later levels provide a bit of a challenge for players insistent on collecting all of the roses and music notes, overall, Groove Heaven is very easy, even for those gamers who may be pitifully bad at rhythm games. Not only is the difficulty low, the game is also very short, containing 30 stages that can easily be completed in under an hour. Beyond the campaign, there is an additional Timed mode that essentially works as an endless version of the story levels. In timed mode, you simply play through a repeating labyrinthine stage, collecting music notes and avoiding enemies until the clock runs out. This mode seems like an easy way to extend the longevity of the title as a whole, but the experience feels tacked on and doesn’t provide enough variety to keep players interested.

All of Groove Heaven’s characters are designed in a cute style that is shown off through the use of large detailed sprites. The 3D effect is also successfully used to give depth to the environments and provide the illusion that you are actually stepping in and out of the foreground. All of the environments are very plain; however, and mostly just reuse the same backgrounds and architecture over and over again. The soundtrack is also a bit disappointing, consisting primarily of three songs that are themed after the environments that you play in. The songs are great for keeping the time necessary to play the game, but it is unfortunate and absurd that a game based on musical rhythm doesn’t provide more diversity in its music.


Groove Heaven is the unfortunate kind of game that has so many great intentions, but falls just short in every aspect. This one may serve to ease younger audiences who are unfamiliar with rhythm games into the genre, but anyone looking for depth, difficulty, or lasting appeal will be sorely disappointed. This one is short, shallow, and frankly too easy to keep anyone interested for long.

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User Comments (38)



KongFu said:

Darn... I love rhythm games. But maybe the japanese companies are just better in these genres...



Bulbousaur said:

After I saw a video of the first few levels, I knew this was going to be the case. Oh well...



SheldonRandoms said:

Maybe i'll get this while it's on sale, I always like me some rhythm games.

@Phantom_R Your game is my favorite Rhythm game on the 3DS right now, LOL



ajcismo said:

Read this review while The Final Countdown was playing on the radio. Weird.



Dpullam said:

Unfortunately, this game is far too short for me to justify purchasing it. It looked cool though.



theblackdragon said:

has anyone collected all of the roses? if so, does it change how the ending plays out? otherwise i probably won't go back to it. i thought the story was cute, but that was about it...



Ron_DelVillano said:

@theblackdragon If you really want to 100% it, I'd recommend going back to the earlier levels and loading up on lives. Makes it much easier to just tank through the later ones.



Jukilum said:

From what I've seen of this game it looks like a ripoff of the game Beat Sneak Bandit for iOS. Get that game instead. It is actually quite challenging.



Windy said:

I got to disagree with this review. I love the graphics the music the simplistic gameplay. The dialogue in the game cracks me up. The way you keep with the beat is addicting and fun. Its a great little game don't let it go its a fun little game. It is short but most games of this nature are short. If you want to wait on a sale I can see that but I rated the game a 5 out of 5 on the Shop rating and I'm usually a hater on rhythm games. Call me crazy I liked this more than HarmoKnight. The game is dripping with Charm. I guess its the simplistic play that draws me into it



welsh_gamer said:

Completed this 100%, in just over an hour. I enjoyed it and thought it was a good rhythmic platform puzzler, but if there was more content, it'd be easier to recommended.



Windy said:

@KnightRider666 if you get a chance go in the forums under eshop and checkout the thread of Groove Heaven. NWL gave a 7/10 and classic game room gave it a good review. Maybe wait on a sale for this one cause its short but its worth playing just a fun experience my friend



OptometristLime said:

I disagree with the review, but that's neither here nor there.
What DOES bug me though is people who trust reviews over their gut interests.

For me and @Windy this is a great rhythm game, "dripping with charm."



Windy said:

@OptometristLime I will always respect a reviewers perspective.. This just happens to be one time (which doesn't happen often) that I have a difference of opinion with the boys here at NintendoLife. I appreciate all they do. As always great work describing the game itself. I just think for me its worth playing and has a lot of charm. Thanks for the backup optomotristlime. A lot of peeps don't stick their necks out there to agree with what seems to be the only guy here who likes the game. I don't know maybe I like the simplicity about this game, but I'm also loving the graphics and the music. Its a nice budget title



Ron_DelVillano said:

@Windy I won't deny that it's a charming game, and I like the idea and plot, but as I said in the review, it falls short on so many fronts and it doesn't achieve what it could have.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't hate playing this one at all, but that doesn't make it a well-crafted game.



theblackdragon said:

@OptometristLime, @Windy: you guys liked it, and I can respect that, but I can also very much see where Ron is coming from with the review here. The only reason I stuck with it after the first couple levels with those stupid angels patrolling around and cats chasing you was because i'd gotten so far already and just wanted to see how the story ended (because i did think the story was cute, cliche'd premise or no). the difficulty curve is absolutely ridiculous, i went from breezing on through to frustrated as hell. And then when the game was over and I tried the 'Timed' mode or whatever, I was very disappointed to see the stage just repeats the same short portion of itself over and over after you've gotten past the beginning. Other games with an 'endless' mode (I kept thinking of Aura-Aura Climber) have much more variety in those stages. It's not a terrible game, but I feel it definitely has its issues and I don't look forward to it just taking up space on my SD card because I honestly have no pressing urge to replay it. the only possible reason I could think of to actually recommend it to someone would be the low price-tag and the fact that it wasn't inherently broken.



Windy said:

@Ron_DelVillano, @theblackdragon I'm totally cool with your guys review. Im usually a hater of these Rhythm games and just found this one to be fun for myself. You guys are great at what you do I appreciate what you guys do for us here at NL. No big deal just a few difference of oppinion. I bet it confuses the hell out of those on the fence of buying Not that all this it meant for that



theblackdragon said:

@Windy: haha, no big, i'd just realized that i'd been kinda dogging the game above without having actually said why i hadn't really enjoyed it myself. what other rhythm-based games have you tried? perhaps there'll be others out there that interest you too now that this one's got you going :3



rayword45 said:

So based on both review and comments, I should assume this game has no appeal to people who play lots of rhythm games already.



Windy said:

@theblackdragon I had a hard time with HarmoKnight. To be honest I think it was the 3d as opposed to the 2D of Groove Heaven. I guess my timing was all off in 3d LOL I got turned off to Harmoknight on the 3rd area, and didn't pick the game back up, maybe I will now, but I have some DenpaMen to catch NOW!



Windy said:

Oh I just found Rhythm thief in my bag yesterday. I played 3 or 4 levels of that and quit out. I'm going to go back and try these I bet I like them now. Maybe the groove heaven will get me started on the genre



Kolma said:

Really happy I waited for the review, now to spend my money on something better



Will-75 said:

It's not the kind of game I like but I will admit I thought it was a good game for the reasons the reviewer thought it came up short on - I like the idea of a simple pick up and play game that's not so irritatingly hard you want to throw your 3DS across the room . I recommend it with a 8.5 outta 10 in my opinion , It's a really fun , good game .



OptometristLime said:

Just made it back to this discussion, oops.

@theblackdragon I appreciate you sharing your personal critiques. While the game is quite limited, my initial reaction was quite positive due in large part to the modest price. And indeed:

theblackdragon wrote:

the only possible reason I could think of to actually recommend it to someone would be the low price-tag and the fact that it wasn't inherently broken.

Haha! This game would be eligible to recommend for the reason you (some what ironically!) suggest, and in fact I would argue that for a budget title all the technical aspects seem well polished. For this game to resonate fully, rhythm fans who appreciate this kind of niche experience would have to gamble on its stylized appeal. And then become hooked on a play style that is quite unique, to my experience.



Yomerodes said:

Got it today for 2.99 (is on sale at the american eshop).

Cleared 10 levels in a few minutes...but that matters not, I really loved those 10 levels, love the setting and the gameplay.

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