Rhythm Heaven, aka Rhythm Paradise in EU and Rhythm Tengoku Gold in JP
The Wario Ware dev team pairs with a Japanese pop music producer to create a sexalicious rhythm game
The Nintendo DS (or that brand-spankin'-new DSi!)
US: April 5; EU: May 1 (out already in JP)
did the original GBA game never come to the West? For reals, I've been jonesing for this for years, dawg
Rhythm Tengoku/Heaven minigame trailer
So imagine this music mashup: The development team behind the treasured WarioWare games, and a Japanese pop producer who wants to create original music. What you get is a peek into the open maw of madness, aka Rhythm Heaven.
This Joystiq review
sums up why I'm so excited about the game:
If you've played WarioWare, you can imagine the basic look and feel of Rhythm Heaven: a string of brief minigames presented in disparate, deliberately lo-fi styles, covering a wide variety of subjects, characters, and tasks. The WarioWare team is also behind Rhythm Heaven, as well as its GBA predecessor (which never made it outside of Japan), and it shows. Rhythm Heaven differs from WarioWare in that the minigames are longer (up to a couple of minutes) and all musical. You tap and "flick" the stylus to the beat of original music by Japanese pop producer Tsunku, in order to make your avatar volley ping-pong balls, for example, or to make one moai mimic the singing of another. Each minigame features a short tutorial to help you understand the task before jumping into the song. These minigames are all just practice, however, for the "remix" stages: every fifth task is a roundup of the previous four, all strung together with new graphics, to the tune of a new song.
The minigames are almost universally charming, featuring standouts like DJ School, in which you play a student DJ who stops and scratches a record in response to his teacher's commands of "Break, come on, ooh," and "scratch-o, hey." Karate Man, in which you tap and flick to punch and kick flying objects, is another favorite. Fan Club, in which you control a monkey who must clap for a pop star in unison with the other audience monkeys, will probably burn a permanent response to the phrase "I suppose" into your mind.
Strong performance in the minigames earns you medals, which unlock all kinds of stuff: endless rhythm minigames, "rhythm toys" in the form of ungraded minigames and various noisemakers, "guitar lessons" based on one of the guitar-based games, and more. In addition, as you play, the game will randomly challenge you to complete a minigame with a perfect score to earn a specific reward, like songs in the music player, lyric sheets, and even background reading about the characters in the games. The extras help motivate obsessive replaying of the games, although honestly, the game itself is motivation enough for obsessive replaying.
I've been curious about this game ever since the original came out on the GBA in Japan. It never made it to the West, and when the DS sequel was announced I was stunned that it was eventually confirmed to be brought to the west. Right now there's a demo on the US Wii Nintendo Channel
that you can download to your DS. It's got two minigames in it, both of which you see in the trailer above, and they are tons of fun.
And once you've succumbed to this game's glory, I'll even save you money: Amazon: Rhythm Heaven for $26 with free shipping.
That's 10 bucks below what GameStop is charging! If you can wait a few days, anyway.