At first glance, it would be easy to dismiss Rhythm Heaven Fever (also known as Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise in Europe) as just another minigame collection (and a music game at that). After all, the Wii has seen more than its fair share of those types of games over the years, with many of them being knockoffs of Wii Sports or simply not being very good at all. However, Rhythm Heaven Fever has a few things going for it that separates it from the rest.
Most notably, this is one of Nintendo's most successful new IPs in recent years, with the series having been around in North America and Europe for the better part of three years now (six in Japan), and now Fever debuts as the second installment in the series for us Westerners. For any who missed the DS version, the game is based on musical rhythm gameplay that unfolds in quirky animated scenarios on-screen. And despite of being similar in design to its portable counterpart, this sequel brings enough to the table in the way of gameplay that it's able to stand on its own.
The game is divided up into individual rhythm mini-games where you'll have to tap "A" or press "A+B" at the appropriate time in keeping with the rhythm and the on-screen visuals. That's the basic gist of the game, yet it is deceptively more complex than it seems. At its core, Rhythm Heaven Fever is about remembering different rhythm patterns and executing them as perfectly as you can. As such, each minigame begins with a tutorial that details exactly how the rhythm in that particular game is set up, and it'll give you the visual and audio cues necessary to press the buttons to the beat accordingly.
For the sake of simply jumping in and just playing the game, I found myself wishing there was another simpler way to explain each game, but in most cases, these tutorials are absolutely necessary to watch and play through since there are some very tough games with steep learning curves. It is just a shame that you have to sit through and learn from the tutorials for a minute or two before actually jumping into each minigame.
You'll work through the games in a progressive manner. There are 7+ sets of five games each, with the fifth game of each set being a remix of the prior four games combined. After playing through each game, you'll be rated as to how well you followed the beats and rhythm, ranging from a score of "too bad" to "okay" to "superb" (and later, "perfect"). While these scores work fine, it would have been nice to fit at least one more score in there to really differentiate how well you did. Oftentimes, the line between "okay" and "superb" was razor-thin, where I was certain I had missed too many beats to merit the latter score at the end of the minigame, only to find out that I did get a superb score after all. It's a minor gripe, but still notable.
Can't Keep a Beat
If there's one major thing you should know about Rhythm Heaven Fever though, it's that it can get very difficult, almost to the point of turning off newcomers to the series. Of course, there are still games that have a simple rhythm and beat to them, but there are just as many that have an advanced rhythm that may take some time to get used to. One game, called "Monkey Watch," was so difficult that it took me a good 20 tries or more before the rhythm finally "clicked" with me and I got it. Other games will throw "off-beats" at you and are especially difficult to grasp as you'll often be tapping to the rhythm perfectly for a while, only to be thrown off when it switches to the off-beats and back again.
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