The popular handheld series Rhythm Heaven is finally making its debut on the Wii, and rather than requiring you to use motion controls to complete minigames, the new entry goes back to basics, incorporating properly timed button presses as its main mechanic.
For the unfamiliar, the Rhythm Heaven series has always been about using musical and onscreen cues to complete objectives. The series has been known for its fantastic use of music, its quirky art style, and its bone-crushingly difficult objectives. And that hasn't changed with Fever. You are still going to have a tough time mastering the 50-plus challenges that come your way. But unlike in the DS version, which incorporated the stylus to complete puzzles, you only have to worry about pressing the corresponding button at the correct times.
We sat down with the game and took a little rhythm test to get things started. The first test simply had us watch the screen, and when the A button appeared, we followed suit by pressing the A button on the controller. This was done to give us an idea of how to keep with the rhythm. The second test also incorporated pressing the A button, but we had to do so at certain intervals. In this test, we were required to hit the button every eight seconds. Early rounds of the test gave us a full countdown to help, but the last few rounds not only stopped the countdown, but also obscured the screen so we didn't have any idea how accurate we were in hitting the right rhythm
After the test, we moved on to some of the six games available. The first game was a golfing minigame where a chimp and a mandrill threw golf balls that we had to hit. While the chimp had an obvious pattern and lead-up to his throw, the mandrill was very fast, and we had to react quickly to avoid getting hit by his ball.
The second puzzle was a toy assembly line where we had to fasten the heads of robots. Not only did we have to place the head on the body in time, but we had to hold it there for the right amount of time for the head to fit properly. If you hold it too long, the robot will break, but if you let go too early, the head will more than likely fall out before reaching the toy store.
Our performances varied from getting a superb rating in a board meeting game (which required us to perform an action on par with the other people in the office), to downright awful in a game where we had to repeat the pattern of a tambourine-playing monkey.
Rhythm Heaven games are known for their difficulty, and although we made our fair share of mistakes as we played, it was still a lot of fun, and the songs accompanying the challenges were quite delightful. We sampled only six of the games available, but there will be more than 50 in the final game, including some two-player ones, which we didn't have a chance to try out. On top of that, there will be bonus content to unlock, including an endless mode that contains challenges designed to see how long you can perform them before failing.
Rhythm Heaven Fever hits stores shelves on February 13, only for the Nintendo Wii.