Rhythm Heaven Fever will punish you for feeling awesome.

User Rating: 8 | Minna no Rhythm Tengoku WII
Rhythm Heaven Fever is not your average mini-game compilation. It blends together an amazing soundtrack with deceptively simple one or two button gameplay, all while delivering fun characters and visuals that will massage the most fun part of your brain with soft, delicate fingers. It all takes place in the Rhythm Heaven world, filled with fun characters who are out to charm you by doing or saying silly stuff all to the beat of the music. You'll either be pressing a button to stop pigs spinning in office chairs, being a worn out wrestler answering some gibberish reporter question, or a dog playing some badminton in a plane with a cat. Finish something crazy and move on to the next crazy thing and laughing at how silly and fun it is. Each clever mini-game has its own back story that's just as ridiculous as it is awesome but, unfortunately, the way to view them is to beat to the coinciding game when it tells you to get a perfect score. In my case, I could only grab a few. It's extremely annoying that this is the only way to view the stories and there should be a less punishing alternative.

In terms of art, Rhythm Heaven Fever is up there with the best of the best. You can tell it's extremely Japanese and has a similar feel to the Wario Ware universe. It even looks good when there are just plain white backgrounds since everything else just feels so vibrant anyway. Character and object animation is very well done and way too happy, even when you screw up and and make a monkey sad you'll still feel good about what you're seeing. Remix mini-games will take the four games from a column and mash them up, changing the art to fit one theme and it's a cool refresher if some of the visuals get old. As good as these visuals can be, don't try to get too attached because they try to distract you. The most notable moment of this is during a bird marching mini-game when the world zoomed out only to be taking place in the eye of the bird you were just controlling. It absolutely blew my mind with how awesome yet distracting it was. Wii games are notoriously blurry when played on bigger HDTV's but this game performs some form of witchcraft and makes it seem like it's displayed higher than 480p. Quite impressive.

Sound design is the most important part of music games and Rhythm Heaven is more unique in that you press buttons to audio cues instead of pressing buttons to what displays on screen. In other music games, it's hard to enjoy the music that's actually playing instead of your mind being completely focused on on screen symbols. The challenge here is letting your fingers flow with the music and as the game teaches you to get in touch with the rhythm you can even start playing with your eyes closed if you're confident with yourself. It fits the definition a music game better than most others, at least to me.

Each game has its own catchy soundtrack ranging from downright incredible to downright laughably fun. If a cat in an airplane calmly singing audio cues isn't considered funny, just wait until he flies into the background and screams them in time with the music and see if you don't crack a smile. One of the weaker examples is a game called Love Rap, which you're a backup singer and have to press A after the lead singer delivers a set of lyrics. It's difficult to pick up the timing on until you learn to press the button the second she stops singing and the music just felt kind of repetitive and bad. But there are songs with actual lyrics which are only in a few of the remixes and I found them to be very catchy and fun to play the games to. Even though they were originally Japanese the localization did a phenomenal job making them feel just as special in English. So apart for some sloppy audio cues, the music is top notch.

The deceptively simple gameplay is easy to understand but things can go wrong very fast in some of the harder games. The game revolves around only the A and B buttons being pressed to audio cues so it's not too complicated but pressing them at the wrong time can send you into the wrong rhythm resulting in a train wreck of mistakes. This happens mostly in games where you're constantly tapping a button to keep things going while some others give you break inbetween. It's extremely satisfying to nail the harder games after dozens of attempts but disappointingly, you don't get too much reward except for a medal and unlocking the next game. Speaking if which, after each game, you're graded on three levels: Try Again, OK, and Superb. The threshold between them is really harsh to the point where it feels like missing three cues or less can screw you over. If you don't get an OK or Superb then you have to play it over. If you fail enough times it gives you the option to just skip over it and move on, which was extremely helpful for me and Monkey Clock game. The Perfect grade can only be achieved when a game is randomly chosen for you to perfect it and you have a limit three tries before it goes away.

Difficulty aside, there are tons of mini-games to play and a large amount of them are enjoyable even if they can be punishing. Press buttons to make cheerleaders sing and flip cards, make microscopic bacteria line dance, catch presents and slap spiders? Rhythm Heaven takes all levels of sanity and throws it out the window with something that always feels and plays fresh. While I won;t talk about them all individually, I'd say that my favorite is packing pests where you press the A button to slap spiders and press A and B to catch presents and put them into the shipping boxes. I could play that all day. But not all of the games are what I would call good. For example, there's a game where a girl will throw a baseball and you have to count to five before you can swing the bat. There is no cue to swing and your brain can count faster and slower at different times. Seriously, screw that. The games are exactly the same every time you play them, which is both a good and bad thing since you can improve on something you're having trouble with but things you're good at can start feeling stale if you play it enough.

Rhythm Heaven Fever is fun to put back into your Wii even after you've played it to death if not just to kill some time. There's always something fun to go back to and even an ultimate remix to test your skills on every game at once. I've personally never play the multiplayer but enjoying it with a friend would make it even more fun, I expect.

Rhythm Heaven Fever is a great game to send off the Wii, and a great game for anyone who can appreciate fun, lovable music. Even if it can be difficult.

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