Can't Keep a Beat (cntd.)
Also, the aforementioned remix levels give you no tutorial or practice beforehand, tossing you right out of the frying pan and into the fire, so to speak. What ensues is a mixture of the previous minigames in the set, bouncing around from one minigame for a few seconds and hopping right into another without a break in the beat. These are often the hardest levels in the game, especially since the remix song is longer as well (around two to three minutes long usually). In fact, some of them are so tough that I had to skip them altogether.
But therein lies the genius of Rhythm Heaven Fever - I found that the gradual repetition of each game made me want to play more and more, and finally conquer the games that bested me time and again. I would go back to try to get a "superb" score on the games I had previously only got an "okay" on, and later on I'd even try for a "perfect" score on some. In this manner, the game is truly addicting, and when you finally achieve a superb or perfect score, the victory is made all the sweeter due to the high difficulty of most games.
The one thing that I really didn't like about the game is that it tends to hurt your wrist after a while due to the position it requires you to hold the controller in. It would have been preferable to hold the controller in an NES style format (holding it sideways) but the game makes you hold the remote in the default position (with your thumb on the "A" button and your index finger on the "B" button). Normally this wouldn't be an issue with other games, but the focus in this game solely relies on pushing the A or A+B buttons frequently, which leads to the aforementioned hurting wrist after 30 minutes to an hour, so there's only so long you can play each session.
Finding the Right Groove
For all the gripes about wrist hurting and difficulty, there are still many games that are quite fun and make use of the beat well. One of the most memorable is told through a story about a samurai and culminates in an epic end as the music builds to a crescendo. Others have songs and beats that will leave you humming it long after you have set the game down; even now I have a few of the beats stuck in my head. There are some genuinely good songs here; so good, in fact, that I'd buy the soundtrack for the game if it existed. It's this mix of great music and ingenious rhythm gameplay that sees Rhythm Heaven Fever at its best. Sure, there are games that are duds here and there, but when you get to the games with a great song and beat, you'll be tap-tap-tapping away and then some.
As for the visual presentation, many would argue that it doesn't make the best use of the Wii's capabilities. From a technical standpoint, they are right: it doesn't push the console at all, but in my opinion, the art style Nintendo chose works extremely well. While it doesn't make use of any 3D, it does make excellent use of 2D artwork and animation for a look that's simple, yet effective for what the gameplay is. Add in some of the quirkiest and most unusual characters and you've got one of the most unique casts this side of Warioware, which is fitting since the same development team that developed it also worked on this.
At the end of it all, Rhythm Heaven Fever started out as just "okay" and became something that genuinely impressed me and is currently one of my favorite games of the year so far. The fantastic blend of great music and rhythm gameplay won me over in the end, and it became more and more apparent that this game was something special. Not to mention that I fell in love with the quirky and oftentimes amusing art and characters. Nintendo has crafted yet another game series that sets itself apart from the rest by being bold, unorthodox and unique. Unless you genuinely hate rhythm games and can't keep a beat, you owe it to yourself to check out what is likely one of the last original new games on the Wii.
The combination of rhythm gameplay and great music not only work really well together, but also makes for quite an addicting experience
Many of the games have a very difficult rhythm to them, which may turn off people who can\'t keep a beat. Your wrist may hurt after holding the controller in the requisite position for too long