Whoa, you go big guy!
Many Nintendo fans were hoping that Mother 3 would receive a surprise release at E3 this year, but so far so bad on that front. Instead, we have the sudden launch of Rhythm Heaven Megamix, a compilation of over 70 stages from the first three games in the series — Rhythm Tengoku (which was never released outside of Japan), Rhythm Heaven and Rhythm Heaven Fever.
There’s also 30 all new stages, a relatively lengthy story mode, a multiplayer mode for up to four players (only requiring one copy of the game), a goat feeding panchiko-style mini-game, a secret Warioware character swap mode, and a bunch of other odds and ends. It looks like you’ll be able to select English or Japanese vocals as well, which is a nice touch. Some of the game’s songs have a radically different feel in their original language.
It’s also looking like Nintendo is opting for a digital only release for Megamix. That probably makes sense, as the last game in the series reportedly didn’t sell very well outside of Japan, but it’s still a bummer. At least there is a free demo to help cushion the blow.
I’m also not huge fan of how the compilation is organized. Remember how in the Kirby’s Dream Collection you could either select various Kirby games right off the bat or jump right into the new content? Rhythm Heaven Megamix isn’t like that. In order to get to a brand new stage, you need to play through a stage from each of the prior games first. That probably won’t bother people who aren’t intimately familiar some or all of the previously released Rhythm Heaven titles, as it will all seem new to them, but I have to imagine that a lot of the people who are interested in this collection have played all the other games in the franchise to death.
That said, the old levels here largely consist of the best the series has to offer, and new stages are generally just as great, if not a little too easy. The new Karate Man stage is pretty hard, and a few of the later remixes can be tricky, but other than that, Rhythm Heaven veterans will likely run through most of the game without losing once. The new control options are definitely a help in that regard. Stages that were tough for me with Rhythm Heaven‘s forced stylus controls were relatively easy for me in Megamix, thanks to the option to play with buttons instead.
If you haven’t played a Rhythm Heaven game before, but you like games in the rhythm-action genre, then this may be the best $30 you’ve spent all year. If you already have all the previously released games in the series, then I’d only pick this one up if you are an absolutely Rhythm Heaven maniac like I am. The new group-napping monkeys level, the sumo slapping and stomping stage, the weird bending cats who want a wolf to chop wood, the depressed bear who eats donuts and strawberry shortcake as he cries alone, the clapping cats, and that alien interpreter level are all to good to pass up on, even if the rest of the game is largely old news.