Shake it, baby

Nintendo has really unloaded on us today. With a storage solution for the Wii, the announcement of a new Zelda for the DS, and all the other news, it's possible that one might miss one little news item. You may or may not have known that in North America, Nintendo added Rhythm Heaven to its list of DS Downloads on the Wii's Nintendo Channel, and after downloading it and giving it a thorough playing, here's a little preview of what you can expect from the whole game.

You begin by practicing a flicking motion, quickly sliding the stylus up to knock down a target, and then a moving object. Once completed, you move on to the first game - Built to Scale - the goal is to flick a rod into two moving squares to the beat of the musical scale Do Re Mi. This can be done by flicking at the Sol (the fifth in the scale), and as long as you don't visualize too much, it's quite easy, and VERY entertaining. It gives you a nice feeling of accomplishment, and will have you nodding your head to the tune after a couple of flicks. Once you finish this exercise with a reasonable score, you move onto the next event.

Just one of the many strange stages in Rhythm Heaven

The second game is called Glee Club. You'll notice three little guys and their music instructor, and you'll notice the third little guy (you) singing uncontrollably until you hold the stylus down on the touch screen ("Tap to close your yap!"). Each will take a turn singing and you'll have to match the timing and length of the note - or suffer the furrowed brows of your compeers. Additionally a flick is added to the mix which causes you to sing a powerful high note. Once you've got a handle in the practice mode, you'll need to tap, hold, and flick your way through a song successfully before moving on. Timing is key in this event, and you'll be hard pressed not to grin at each of the little guys as they belt out their tunes.

Finally, the last game is Fillbots. The goal here is to tap and hold as the robot comes by on the belt, filling it up with a red liquid. You've got to fill them up perfectly, not too little or too much, and it took me quite a few tries to match the speed and rhythm of the filling up sound. Once you've got the hang of the practice mode, the game acts like you're going to continue to a graded stage like the previous two games, but then cuts back to the announcer who informs you that the demo is, sadly, over.

Rhythm Heaven is all about timing, and headphones are strongly recommended to use while playing. It's set to release on April 5 in North America and May 1 in Europe, and is definitely one to keep your eyes (and ears) on. The demo does not have an expiration date, so it will likely be one of those that is there to stay, along with some of Nintendo's other DS games like Brain Age and CrossworDS. The demo can be run through in less than 20 minutes, but there's definitely replay value to be had as you attempt to pull each round off perfectly. There is no reason for you not to go and give this wonderful game a download, and once you love it, go out and buy it at launch!