We've all had a song -- sometimes one we don't even like -- stuck on repeat as we go through our daily routines. It can be agonizing at times, but there is a reason even the worst song becomes infused in the recesses of our subconscious: the music is catchy.
Wubudubudubudubudub! This is the infectious beat that has been echoing inside the depths of my brain ever since I had the chance to go hands-on with Nintendo's Rhythm Heaven Fever. No matter how hard I try, I can't shake this sound. It's a true testament to the charming music minigame collection's addictive rhythmic gameplay and unforgettable jams.
Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii)
The idea behind Rhythm Heaven Fever is fairly straightforward: complete a visually off-the-wall music rhythm challenge with as few mistakes as possible. Each stage, for lack of a better term, contains its own unique look and musical style that is a cross between WarioWare, Inc. and PaRappa the Rapper. The game's presentation is quirky, but with its simple two-button controls -- no motion needed -- it's hard not to become quickly captivated by its charm.
The first minigame I played was called Hole in One. Sports lovers and fans of The Lion King will easily be amused by this challenge that sees monkeys tossing, or in the case of the larger Rafiki-esque baboon, chucking golf balls at you. The goal of the stage is to hit each ball with perfect timing in order to achieve a hole-in-one. It's fairly basic at first, especially with the little monkey gently lobbing golf balls at you, since there are visual cues a player can look for if they just aren't feeling the beat. But for those who want to obtain the "Superb" ranking for the stage, reliance on visual cues will only get one so far. In my experience, I most successfully found the rhythm when I closed my eyes and listened to the music. Everybody processes sounds differently, and in the case of Hole in One, the visuals actually distracted me.
In the game First Date, the player has to keep bouncing balls from intruding on a date at the park. Basketballs, soccer balls, and footballs -- each with their own bouncing beat -- are set to come crashing in and scare away two cute golfers on a date. As the balls bounce in, pressing the A button has the guy trying to impress his date by nonchalantly kicking away the balls while she stares at the furry little critters. There is a visual cue for the soccer ball and football -- when they reach the apex of the player's knee, quickly press A -- but for the basketball and its double beat bounce, well, it's all up to mastering the rhythm.
Here, Rhythm Heaven Fever makes itself a rewarding experience. You really have to find the rhythm to be successful, but there are still tricks to follow in the game's clean Flash-like animations, so players don't get overly frustrated. Mastering each stage takes rhythmic skill, but having fun is easy for anyone who just wants to enjoy the eclectic and sugary visuals.
For those who want to share the experience of becoming a rhythm master, Rhythm Heaven Fever offers a handful of cooperative games as well. From what I could tell, there are five games for friends to sink into. The first, of two, that I was able to take a stab at was Fork Lifter. The goal is to catch as much food that comes flying by, lightning-fast, as possible. It's a more frantic game than any other that I had played, but one that becomes easier once the flow is figured out.
The other multiplayer game I tried was Micro-Row. This game was more musically inclined than the previous minigames I had played. Hitting the A button in time pushes tiny single-celled organisms around the environment in unison, like synchronized swimmers. As the song continues on, the level zooms farther out, making the reliance on actual rhythm more important than any visual sign a player may have been using. The look of Micro-Row was abstract yet accessible, and reminded me a lot of the underappreciated Electroplankton.
Outside of the main game and multiplayer, bonus and endless games that are equally as challenging, if not more so, can be unlocked throughout the game. Toy Car (which is all about timing), Police Call, and Mr. Upbeat (a new addition for the game's North American release) are just a few of the extras to discover. Nintendo was pretty hush-hush on what most of the games are like, but from what I could tell, each looks to provide an extra distraction to help round out the overall package.
With over 50 games plus a cavalcade of extras, there is definitely a welcome variety for fans of the series. While the majority of the Rhythm Heaven Fever is single-player, it lends itself extremely well to the party atmosphere. I only had a chance to play a small sample of the game, but its intoxicating Japanese style had me dancing and nodding my head to every song.
Look for Rhythm Heaven Fever very soon, as it hits stores on February 13. Wubudubudubudubudub!
|10:40 PM on 02.13.2012|
Review: Rhythm Heaven Fever
What does it take for a game to be universally enjoyable? That's the question most game developers would love to be able to answer, but it's easier said than done. My guess is that it comes down to exploiting the medium for w...more
|7:00 PM on 02.03.2012|
Rhythm Heaven Fever special edition unboxing
Did you know that Rhythm Heaven Fever was getting a special edition? Neither did I. Then I got this box in the mail this morning. I'm pretty sure that this special edition won't be sold in stores, but if Nintendo decides to change its mind on that, they're sure to make a killing when the game hits stores on February 13th. Check out the video and you'll understand what I mean.more
|12:00 PM on 02.01.2012|
Rhythm Heaven Fever launch event in LA at iam8bit
Nintendo will host a launch event in Los Angeles on Feb. 10, 6-10 p.m., for Rhythm Heaven Fever, and hands-on sessions and giveaways are planned for the event. They're teaming up with iam8bit and Giant Robot to throw a party ...more
|11:00 AM on 01.25.2012|
I'm obsessed: Rhythm Heaven Fever's ball kick love song
I love the Rhythm Heaven franchise and I'm frothing at the mouth in anticipation for upcoming Wii release Rhythm Heaven Fever. As a musician I am drawn to their mix of rhythm play and great music, and the silly visuals does ...more
|2:00 PM on 12.13.2011|
Dated: Kid Icarus, 3DS Circle Pad Pro, and more
Nintendo has issued its early 2012 videogame release schedule, and believe it or not, there's some quality info lurking in there. The big release is undoubtedly Kid Icarus: Uprising -- it's going to be available for 3DS as of...more
|5:00 PM on 12.03.2011|
Team Fortress 2 and Camacho get Rhythm Heaven Fever
As much as I'm looking forward to picking Xenoblade (again), it doesn't hold a candle to my most anticipated Wii game of 2012; Rhythm Heaven Fever. Like Xenoblade, this is a game that I've already imported, but I s...more
|11:00 PM on 11.29.2011|
Rhythm Heaven Fever infects North America February 2012
Friends, we've weathered hard times these past months. Nintendo faithful across the land have endured quite the drought. So few compelling titles may have tested the resolve of less devout fans, but not us. No, we patiently w...more
|11:30 PM on 11.14.2011|
Someone put me in the best video ever made
Sometimes I really want to pack it all up and quit while I'm ahead. That's how I felt when I first heard that I'll have a bit part in the upcoming XBLA/PC/WiiWare title Retro City Rampage. I wasn't sure it could get an...more
|2:30 PM on 05.28.2013|
Conker's Bad Fur Day director's commentary is glorious
I said DAMN! Nintendo 64-era Rare is on a roll lately! I may be tempted to go buy an N64 off eBay right now and have a week-long Rare session. Three big shots from Conker's Bad Fur Day's dev staff have decided to knock back ...more
|4:00 AM on 05.22.2013|
The horrible secret behind EA Sports' Ignite Engine
I'll admit, when EA Sports' Andrew Wilson took to the stage during Microsoft's Xbox One reveal, I tuned out. If memory serves, I used the opportunity to take a much needed trip to the bathroom because I was certain there would be nothing there to hold my interest. I was wrong. Hopefully, it's not too late for us.more
|7:30 AM on 04.25.2013|
Snag brentalfloss' unreleased YouTube jams for $0.59 each
[Video uploaded by bedsidecargo] Internet songman brentalfloss has uploaded many funny and creative music videos to his YouTube page over the years. Among those, he cherry-picked a few choice tunes, re-rerecorded them with im...more