Jan 31 //
Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii)Developer: Nintendo, TNXPublisher: NintendoRelease: February 13, 2012
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!
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 s...
Here's a compilation of some footage of Rhythm Heaven Fever, the English language version of Minna no Rhythm Tengoku. How do you think it sounds? Personally, I like the English voice work here, but I think I'll still prefer ...
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 ...
I keep forgetting that Minna No Rhythm Tengoku (the Japanese Rhythm Heaven game on the Wii) and Rhythm Heaven Fever are technically two different titles. When it comes to gameplay, they're the same game, but when it comes to...
Jan 11 //
Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii) Developer: Nintendo SPD Group No. 1, TNXPublisher: NintendoRelease: February 13, 2012
Minna no Rhythm Tengoku (renamed Rhythm Heaven Fever for the US) was one of my favorite games of 2011; it's the only game of 2011 that I'm sure I'll be playing over and over for the rest of my life. I brought the game to several parties over the winter holidays, and despite the fact that I was playing to generally non-gamer crowds, the game still went over like gangbusters. It's instantly fun, endlessly replayable, and packed with content, and it plays upon gaming's greatest strength -- the ability to use controls, visuals, and sound to create a seamless bond between the player and the game. That's something that a lot of rhythm games do well, but I think Rhythm Heaven Fever does it better than almost all the rest.
At its budget price, you would have to be a true hater of goodness and light to pass it up. If you think it looks too "weird" or "casual," do yourself a favor by ignoring your own perception and relinquishing your judgment to me. Buy this game as soon as you can. You won't regret it (unless they screw up the English localization again, in which case just import it).
The Last Story (Wii) Developer: Mistwalker, AQ InteractivePublisher: NintendoRelease: February 24, 2012 (EU)
Speaking of imports, I've already imported The Last Story, and I can say that it stands alongside Super Mario Galaxy and Skyward Sword as one of the best-looking, most painstakingly crafted games in the Wii's library. Sadly, my Japanese is crap, so I'll be importing this game from Europe or, hopefully, picking it up in the US later this year. I need to know what the hell is going on!
Fans of Hironobu Sakaguchi's prior games (Final Fantasy I-IX, Lost Odyssey, etc.) or anyone who loves inventive third-person action-RPGs owes it to themselves to check this one out. It's not everyday that you get to witness one of the most influential developers in the history of the medium reinvent the genre that they helped create.
Dragon Quest X (Wii, Wii U) Developer: Square Enix, Armor ProjectPublisher: Square EnixRelease: 2012 (Wii) / TBA (Wii U)
We still don't know a ton about Dragon Quest X other than the fact that Square Enix has been working on it forever, as well as how it aims to combine the strengths of MMOs with the traditional single-player RPG experience for something that will please both audiences.
The game is about one of two twins who is magically transformed into one of the game's other races, sort of like the Melvin Van Peebles classic Watermelon Man, only less racist. That's all well and good, but what I really want out of Dragon Quest X is the opportunity to explore a huge, Akira Toriyama-created world alone or with friends, experiencing all its fine details and, in doing so, creating my own story.
Honorable Mentions: Kiki Trick, Pandora's Tower, Retro City Rampage
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) Developer: Monolith SoftPublisher: NintendoRelease: April 2012
See what happens when a company digs out its ears and listens to the fans? It was pretty much like pulling teeth with Nintendo, but now Xenoblade Chronicles is on its way to the US. Sure, I could have imported the European version, but having a cheaper option is always nice.
I'm stoked, and I'm not even that big of an RPG guy! I've played several Final Fantasy titles, tried and failed to get into the Tales series, enjoyed Golden Sun, and dabbled lightly elsewhere. Still, all the positive word of mouth from our friends across the Atlantic is making it really hard to not get overly excited.
La-Mulana (WiiWare) Developer: Nigoro, NicalisPublisher: NicalisRelease: 2012
Speaking of games that have been out in Japan forever, here's indie platformer La-Mulana. The game is finished, having gone through some last-minute bug fixes following the Japanese release, and now is waiting on Nintendo of America to give the go-ahead. Who knows how long that will take. There is non-console port on the way (PC, though a likely platform, isn't actually specified), and it would be a laugh riot if it came out before the WiiWare version.
It's no secret that my poison of choice is a nice, juicy 2D platformer with wonderful pixel art and a hefty amount of challenge. A game that tosses Castlevania, Metroid, and Indiana Jones into a blender and hits "frappé"? Obviously, it's going to be a winner. If you want to play the game right now, the original has been available online for free since 2005. However, as with Cave Story, I'm curious as to the extent of the changes and upgrades in the remake.
Retro City Rampage (WiiWare, Xbox Live Arcade) Developer: Vblank EntertainmentPublisher: Vblank EntertainmentRelease: 2012
I feel bad for Vblank's Brian Provinciano. I like to joke about Retro City Rampage's lengthy development, and I enjoy hitting Brian up on Facebook with such constructive comments as, "What are you doing right now? BREATHING!? When you should be WORKING!?" In all honesty, I don't envy his situation. The game has been in the works for nearly a decade, back when it was known as Grand Theftendo. Since then, Brian has had to jump through so many hoops just to see his baby through. Next time I see the man, I have to treat him to a steak dinner or at least some froyo.
At one point, Retro City Rampage was a Grand Theft Auto parody. I don't know what it is anymore -- it defies classification. It's a love letter to 80s, an homage to videogames throughout the ages, and the debut of many Destructoid editors as game characters. You ask Brian to include something in the game, and the guy will probably find a way to squeeze in that reference. If nothing else, Retro City Rampage is going to be huge.
Honorable Mentions: Rhythm Heaven Fever, The Last Story, Pandora's Tower, Rodea the Sky Soldier
As for the Wii U, no real exclusives have been firmly announced for the thing yet, though we'll be keeping a close eye for more news on Pikmin 3, Smash Bros. Wii U / 3DS, and Miyamoto's new secret project. Then there is the promise of an enhanced Wii U version of Dragon Quest X, Batman: Arkham City, Darksiders II, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and many others.
I'd also be highly surprised if we didn't get a compilation of some of the Wii U "experiences" that were on display at E3 2010. I'd love to see that Metroid-themed multiplayer shooter, Mario-themed hide-and-seek, Rhyhm Heaven-style pirate game, and (Shannon's favorite!) Measure Up, all crammed into one Wii Sports-style, minigame collection pack-in.
Then there is No More Heroes 3, which Suda51 told me TO MY FACE is still headed to the Wii U. So while there is still a lot left to see confirmed, there is plenty to be excited about in 2012 for the wacky, wonderful world of Wii U.
Additional staff picks for the Wii / Wii U:
Chad Concelmo: Rhythm Heaven Fever, Pikmin 3 Sean Daisy: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Dragon Quest X, Darksiders IIAndrew Kauz: Dragon Quest X, Xenoblade ChroniclesTara Long: Retro City RampageKyle MacGregor: Retro City Rampage, Rhythm Heaven Fever, The Last StoryAllistair Pinsof: Xenoblade ChroniclesMax Scoville: Actual Wii U games that aren't tech demos about birds and cherry blossoms Josh Tolentino: Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story
There were a few excellent third-party releases on the Wii in 2011 (Bit.Trip Complete immediately comes to mind), but for the most part, last year marked the end of an era for the console. The Wii didn't even get th...
Rhythm Heaven Fever continues to spread, and has now overtaken Valve's Gabe Newell, the King of Hyrule from the Zelda CDi games, and Applebooty Sugarbottom (or whatever her name is) from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.&...
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...
Hey guys! I'm BACK! And I still sound sort of funny.
On today's very special Destructoid Show, we address the rumors foating around about EA's new stuff, such as Frostbite 2 powered Dragon Age multiplayer, with playable...
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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...
Sometimes people ask me why I like Rhythm Heaven Fever so much. It's a hard thing to explain. Like with so many rhythm-action games, you really need to play it to understand why its great.
Nest time the topic comes up,...
In Japan, the latest Rhythm Heaven game is called Minna No Rhythm Tengoku, which roughly translates to Everybody's Rhythm Heaven. It looks like Nintendo of America is going with a different direction for the game's Western lo...
I've been working on a import review of Minna no Rhythm Tengoku (known as Rhythm Heaven Wii in the U.S.) for almost a month now. Problem is, I just don't have the skills to unlock everything in the game. Though it has incred...
[Image from Nintendo Japan's official Minna No Rhythm Heaven wallpapers]
Since receiving my import copy of Rhythm Heaven Wii last week, a day hasn't gone by by when I haven't gushed about how awesome its monkeys are (usually...
These videos have convinced me to buy the Japanese version of Minna mo Rhythm Tengoku, known in the West as Rhythm Heaven Wii. I know the game is coming to the United States soon enough, but I'm sure that some of the Japanes...
I love Rhythm Heaven and I'm really excited for the upcoming Wii game. That said, I'm sure I'll never be as excited these folks are these two Japanese commercials for Rhythm Heaven Wii.
Dog and Cat airplane tennis lo...
Rhythm Heaven Wii is about to be released in Japan, and marketing for the title is starting to pick up. We've already gotten a look at some of the game's 50+ levels, multi-player mode, and a endless games, but these TV spots...
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