(Wii)

Game Review

Rhythm Heaven Fever Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Fever pitch

Rhythm Heaven games are the kind whose sole purpose is to make you smile. You might even say that it's a lot like a not-terrifying clown at a kid's party, actually: colourful and light, uncomplicated and wacky yet determined in its mission to entertain the masses.

With Rhythm Heaven Fever marking the series' home console debut, Rhythm Heaven pours out of the comically tiny hardware it usually performs on and takes centre stage on the big screen. Instead of taking advantage of its new venue, however, Fever is content with performing the same old act.

Is that such a terrible thing, though? After all, the series has never tried to be anything more than a funhouse of miniature musical vignettes and it's an act that has worked wonders on the Game Boy Advance and DS. It largely works well here, too, especially if this is your first experience with the series or just want to jam along to some monkeys teaching golf. So, no, it's not a terrible thing that Rhythm Heaven is out there being Rhythm Heaven — but you can't help but wonder just how much more it could have been on the big screen.

Following the same structure as the DS and GBA games, Fever unravels its lunacy through songs that have you tap along to the beat while bizarre, often hilarious events unfold on the screen. Sometimes you tap one button, other times two, or maybe you alternate between them — mechanically it's pretty straightforward, cheerfully disregarding potential motion controls altogether to keep your tools as simple as possible. Considering its simplicity, it's amazing how much variety Nintendo squeezes out thanks to clever use of very catchy music. Early on the game is content to let you try to just follow the beat, with later songs switching up the tempo, going off-beat or juggling between rhythms. It can get hectic quickly, and relying on visual cues will only get you so far; to encourage paying attention to the music and sometimes just to seemingly mess with your head, your vision can get obstructed or the camera will pan around just enough to throw you off if you're not careful. The art style has also been streamlined to be more uniform throughout than past Rhythm Heavens; it's playful and pretty, although it does feel like it takes away from the madhouse charm that the portable games had going for them.

For the most part the songs are catchy, well-crafted and hold up for repeat plays, and the sheer diversity of music and absurd situations should let anyone find a particular dozen or so that stand out. They are mostly new, although some will be familiar to those who played through the earlier games. Conquering one song opens up another in a stack of five, and at the end of each stack is a remix stage that blends together elements of songs in the stack.

The set-up continues to work remarkably well for diving in and out of stages, and is not one in need of radical rethinking. You want to interview a wrestler? Click from the menu, you're there. High five some monkeys on a clock? Bam, a menu click away. Do well enough and you might even get a medal for your efforts that unlocks assorted toys and endless games. Do better still with a Perfect rating and you can unlock music for the jukebox or backstory. Yes, most of the songs have a backstory. With over 50 stages and remixes, there is an awful lot of game here to keep you busy — it's quite the bargain for its reduced price of $30.

It's appropriate that the cost of Fever is the same as a DS title, as for all intents and purposes it's a portable game on a stationary screen. There isn't anything conceptually different from the portable entries apart from two-player games, which are less co-operative or competitive than they are parallel solo experiences, and the presentation is simple almost to a fault: Why can't we make playlists of our favourite songs and play through them that way? Why can't we choose to disable tutorials on repeat play? Why no adjustment for HDTV lag? Why do we have to quit a stage in order to restart instead of just having the option in the Pause menu? Seemingly minor complaints, yes, but they add up over time — especially not being able to adjust for HDTV lag, which can make following certain rhythms trickier than it should be.

Conclusion

Rhythm Heaven Fever doesn't do much new with the series apart from a lacklustre multiplayer mode, or really capitalise much at all on now being on a home console, but the amount of whimsy and joy burned onto the disc still make for a remarkably fun game. With loads of content, Rhythm Heaven Fever will keep you cheerily jamming away for a good long while.

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Game Trailer

Feel the rhythm in this new trailer showing off Nintendo's next wacky Wii game, Rhythm Heaven Fever (or Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise to Eur

User Comments (53)

LEGEND_MARIOID

#3

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Dang u guys for making me want to get this game moreso than other revws who rate them higher even!

XXITheWorld

#4

XXITheWorld said:

"Rhythm Heaven games are the kind whose sole purpose is to make you smile" I would say rhythm heaven for DS failed at making me smile, it did succeed however at making me rage and making me want to throw my DS across the room several times

MagicEmperor

#5

MagicEmperor said:

I think this game is even better than Rhythm Heaven for the DS. Lame multiplayer modes aside, I have been having so much fun with Fever, and so many of the tunes have been stuck in my head for days now. I highly recommend this to anyone up to the challenge.

AbuJaffer

#7

AbuJaffer said:

Can't wait for the series to hit the 3DS. Might pick this game up, but I'll have to see what the prices are here; importing usually adds around 40% of the original price, but sometimes they fluctuate with pricing. I'll just have to wait and see.

eviLaTtenDant

#9

eviLaTtenDant said:

Sounds like it's kinda like Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree in feeling nearly like a DS game brought to the Wii.
Please come to Europe, not much else to smile about here right now. ;)

RevolverLink

#10

RevolverLink said:

I wasn't really paying attention to this game at all prior to December, but ever since then, it's probably been my most anticipated release. It just looks so delightfully weird, funny and addictive.

UPS should be dropping off my copy at home this afternoon, and I can't wait to dive right into it!

NintyMan

#11

NintyMan said:

As a WarioWare and Intelligent Systems fan, I may consider this later on. I love music, so this would work out well. It also wouldn't hurt that it's apparently cheap for a Wii game too.

JakobG

#16

JakobG said:

Awesome, I'm definitely gonna pick this u…
Oh wait, silly me.
It doesn't even have A GODDAMN RELEASE DATE YET.

kkslider5552000

#19

kkslider5552000 said:

It amuses me that these complaints for this game are the exact same problems with 10/10 NSMB Wii.

Granted, I do agree it doesn't seem like it was as big of a game as it should be. But that's why it's 30 bucks instead of 50.

Xiao_Pai

#21

Xiao_Pai said:

It was kinda the same with the visuals when compared to Touched and Smooth Moves. I don't know how to explain it, but the Wii ones seem more, I dunno, lively than the DS games. xD
That said, See-Saw and Board Meeting are one of my favorites. xD

zeeroid

#22

zeeroid said:

Guaranteed to charm even the coldest of bastards clean off their feet. No question, it's a steal at $30.

BudDudSlash

#23

BudDudSlash said:

That's weird- the review score doesn't say 10/10. I think that's a typo up there maybe you should fix it.

cyrus_zuo

#24

cyrus_zuo said:

Wonderful.

This game is everything that makes Nintendo my favorite game developer in one great package. I love that instead of yet another FPS game, Nintendo skips 3D entirely and makes a 2D crazy hard and addictive rhythm game that is laugh out loud funny and when playing gives me a feeling that is not similar to anything else on the market.

I'm big into "how I feel" while playing and finding games that are unique in that department. Rhythm Heaven delivers. A $30 steal! If you want innovation in games you should be buying this now (and loving it always!)

Punny

#25

Punny said:

Amazing, just like the last one. I can't wait to pick this one up so I can control baby seals and lobsters.

theblackdragonAdmin

#28

theblackdragon said:

please, guys, different stroke for different folks — not everyone has to agree to like everything you do, and that's okay. there's no need for name-calling, thank you :3

TTGlider

#29

TTGlider said:

8 seems about right. I wanted this to be awesome but my play time since buying it has been more of the 'yeah, this is pretty good' variety rather than 'wow'. Seems like some of the charm from GBA and DS is lost. And it seems like this one was a touch lazy. All the black bordering the pictures in the 'cut scenes' is one example of an artstyle that, imho, regularly crosses from 'streamlined' (to use the review's word) to 'underdeveloped'. And multiplayer should have been a huge part of this edition, but instead it was an afterthought.

sinalefa

#30

sinalefa said:

Rhythm Heaven makes you smile until you start to obsess with getting medals and perfects. That is when it makes you rage. I find some games are easier for some people. In the DS game, I can get a perfect in Lockstep 2 yet I am unable to even get a medal in CropStomp.

No matter how hard it is, you should still feel the soul and love poured on the game. That should be enough to make you smile. And whenever you get frustrated, just take it easy and keep practicing.

May I ask why it took so long to have the review up? I was dying to read NL's take on this game.

accc

#32

accc said:

What's up with taking off points because it's a home console game that resembles a portable game? A great game is a great game no matter where you play it. The reviewer also misses the mark when he says that the game is no different from the handheld games on a conceptual level, since he's completely ignoring the fact that the vastly improved audio and visual quality allows them to do things with audio and visual cues (and distractions) that would have been impossible on the DS. IMO the game is absolutely flawless and definitely deserves a 10.

Prof_Clayton

#37

Prof_Clayton said:

The ds one was one of my favorite games. This is a must buy for me and anyone who enjoys having a fun time.

shinesprite

#42

shinesprite said:

If this one is anything like it's predecessor on the DS, than I'm bound to enjoy it. However, HDTV lag and continued lack or a restart button worry me.

I just picked up a copy last night. too bad I won't have time to play it until next weekend. :(

Lunapplebloom

#43

Lunapplebloom said:

I had rhythm heaven on the DS. It was a bit hard but I liked it. I'll see about picking it up sometime.

Torchwood

#45

Torchwood said:

I bought this game and am stuck on Remix 10.
I hate Tap Troupe, that Shrimp one, and Donk Donk!
Overall, I think the DS game is better because it has more charming music, characters, controls, and design overall. But Fever is still a great game worthy of picking up. But if you're new to Rhythm Heaven, pick up the DS one first. It's more challenging and more fun as well. It takes a lot for me to 100% complete a game, and I did for Rhythm Heaven!

TTGlider

#46

TTGlider said:

A couple comments need the usual reality check. "Game has no flaws-- therefore it deserves a 10!" Well, I'm a bit of a review junky, and almost all reviewers have a score policy that starts from 0 and increases based on merit. None if any pro reviewers start a score at 10 and then deduct for flaws. As for my impressions, I'm over half way through the game and don't find the music as quite or fun as the DS version. However, Fever's music is higher fidelity and more varied, which is nice. I also like the humorous ways they obstruct your view. Speaking of view, I'm not sure I understand how some are worried about input lag with this game. As I understand it, that is usually a function of picture processing - not audio - and if you rely on the picture to advance through this game, you're toast. Easier to play with eyes closed, actually. Though I think some of the graphics (e.g. the intro "title cards") are very pleasant, others (the tiny little image with black around it and a caption cut scene after a game) are just too primitive for the big screen. And weak multiplayer that you have to unlock rather than making it the focus of this game. And lack of realtime feedback on where you're pressing in relation to the beat. And lack of quick retry option. 8/10

Robo-goose

#47

Robo-goose said:

If you can't smile while playing this game, you are probably the kind of evil villain who likes to kick puppies.

AmineKat47

#50

AmineKat47 said:

Seems satisfying. I hav the first one and i liked very well. maybe this will be better

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