Game Rant's Riley Little Reviews Rhythm Heaven Fever
Nintendo has based its entire share of the market off of very weird ideas, and so far they've done quite well for themselves because of it. The Rhythm Heaven series is one such property. Now that the Nintendo Wii is on its last legs, as support for the console seemingly begins to dwindle and the Wii U inches ever closer to its inevitable debut, Rhythm Heaven Fever is in a prime position to capitalize on game-hungry Wii owners.
First things first, those who are unfamiliar with the Rhythm Heaven brand should know the basic premise of these titles. Rhythm Heaven Fever, the latest installment in the series, creates wacky scenarios on-screen and provides a beat. This beat goes hand-in-hand with the actions that gamers are supposed to accomplish while playing, meaning that the individual playing has to push a button (sometimes two) to make their character perform actions in sync with the beat — so players are required to, appropriately enough, find their rhythm.
All that's required to play the title is a Wii Remote and two fingers. The entire game's control layout is mapped to the use of two buttons (the 'A' and 'B' buttons to be precise), so there's no need for gamers to worry about swinging their arm around, moving furniture to play, or receiving a 3rd degree case of whiplash. Players can just sit there, relax, and have fun pushing buttons to the beat.
Rhythm Heaven Fever's layout is as straightforward as straightforward comes too. Players will start off with a single level unlocked, and will be able to play more after completing the challenge that lays before them. There are four different levels in each scenario, and after all four have been completed they're all combined into a final quasi-boss battle. Completing the fifth and final level in the sequence unlocks the next set of levels, and this process continues on until over 50 mini-games are available at the player's disposal.
Just to give some perspective into how zany these mini-game scenarios are: the first challenge is a golfer hitting golfballs across a large body of water onto an island with a hole on it - to the beat of the music of course. Sounds normal, right? Wrong. A little monkey is throwing golfballs into the path of the golfer's club, and as the rhythm picks up a mandrill will begin whipping giant novelty-sized balls at the golfer as hard as he can. While this is taking place, the island your character was shooting balls at turns out to actually be a whale, and you continue to shoot balls into its blowhole. That's just the first level...
Don't get me wrong, however, I'm certainly not complaining. If something attention worthy and totally insane wasn't happening on screen, then this game wouldn't be anywhere near as interesting as it actually is. The different beat-focused events were the one thing that kept me wanting to play this game. I had to see what else the title was going to do, and I spent hours trying my best to see what other ludicrous scenarios Rhythm Heaven Fever would throw me into next. It certainly didn't disappoint on that front.
As players progress, they'll also be judged by the game on their "Flow." A flow assessment is just a score assigned to players to let them know how well they're getting into the rhythm of the games they've played thus far. There's also an opportunity to net medals, and they're obtained by scoring a 'Superb' rating in a challenge. As medals are accrued, new games and toys will be unlocked for use via the CafÃ© area. It's nice that RHF offers unlockables for anyone willing to put in the extra effort - but earning medals to score the allusive content is easier said than done.
Rhythm Heaven Fever is one of the, if not the, most challenging games I've ever played. It's often said that white men have no rhythm, and during my playtime with this game I began to believe the validity of that statement. This game can be unrelenting on even the most rhythmatically-inclined, and while some may be turned of by the sheer challenge it can present, the fact that it can be so difficult is one of the most redeeming qualities about this game. If the mini-games were too easy, then the game would be boring. Anyone who plays the game will definitely rage quit on many occasions, but there's no denying the allure of completing something you absolutely love to loathe.
Some of the phat beats that are showered down upon the gamer in Rhythm Heaven Fever are also extremely catchy. Players will be hard pressed not to bob along with the music, or even get it stuck in their heads. Of course, not all of the tunes are memorable gems. Some of them are just awful, and will make working through a hard level even more frustrating. There are definitely some quality beats to be found, but some are just an unimaginable strain on gamers' eardrums.
When faced with the occasionally awful beat or fever-inducing fit of rage, it's comforting to know that a friend is able to share these emotions alongside you. Rhythm Heaven Fever totally offers a multiplayer option for those looking to spread angst amongst their community, but it's a little gimped. Progressing through the single-player will unlock two-player games, but not all of the mini-games can be played with a buddy. Furthermore, only two people are able to play simultaneously, harkening back to the days of old when there were only two controller ports in Nintendo's consoles. This is a bit of a let down, but overall the multiplayer is an appreciated and fun addition to the title.
Rhythm Heaven Fever offers up a great amount of challenge, replayability, and compulsive desire. It's certainly not perfect, and the lacklustre multiplayer and occasionally awful rhythm won't be doing gamers any favors. It's hard to bring up any substantial gripes with game when it only costs $29.99. Those who love to fore-go the shaking their groove thing, and prefer to cruise along to the rhythm — and have fun while doing it — will find a lot of fun in Rhythm Heaven Fever.
Rhythm Heaven Fever is available right now, exclusively on the Nintendo Wii.
Follow me on Twitter @TheRileyLittle