Out February 13th for Wii!
The Rhythm Heaven series is a, unsurprising, series of rhythm games from Nintendo. Like another series
from Nintendo, it's a bit different from other music games, and features a weird/quirky range of scenarios. It's also known for being pretty hard and demanding a true sense rhythm in order to get perfect scores. The game is like an evil sorcerer regarding its musical nature, and won't shy from obfuscating the screen and forcing you to rely solely on musical cues. Especially in the harder stages. So you're probably screwed if you don't know what an "off-beat" is. But hey, it's the most fun you'll have failing miserably.
The series is developed by the same folks that worked on the Wario Ware series, and that translates in quick play sessions with very simple control schemes. It's a series that anyone can get into, and next month it'll be making its console debut on the Wii.
But first, a history lesson.
Released: August 3rd, 2006 (JP)
The last game on the Game Boy Advance to be made by Nintendo, the first title in the series was highly anticipated but ultimately never released outside of Japan. Lacking any kind of UI to represent any kind of music, the game instead relied on visual cues in whatever odd event was going on, be it hitting baseballs into space or plucking hairs off an onion. The game was highly praised by critics and fans, and even on this very forum it's the number one GBA game to the point where people bought GBA Micros just to have a dedicated system for it
. Being about six years old, the game is pretty rare now, and a cursory glance at eBay shows the first result going for nearly $100. With the virtual console on the 3DS now, there is small hope that an English version will get to us. If you do track down a copy, the GBA isn't region locked, and the game isn't too dependent on the language.
Released: July 31st, 2008 (JP); April 5, 2009 (NA); May 1st, 2009 (EU); June 4th, 2009 (AUS)
I guess the fact that the sequel got green-lit for overseas is kinda surprising, especially in light of Elite Beat Agents not doing as well as hoped back in 2005. Not only did we get Rhythm Heaven, it was one of the flagship titles to debut alongside the DSi with a pretty heavy promotional push (it's well-known for a TV commercial featuring Beyonce). Besides the standard bump in sound and graphic quality that new hardware brings, the game also employed a "tap and flick" kind of control scheme using the DS touchpad. The game was played in the "book" style with the game playing entirely on the non-touch screen and the touch screen being totally blank. While getting solid reviews from player and critic alike, the game was not viewed as favorably as the original. Blame for this might be pinned on the touch controls, which have been stated as good but inherently less accurate than buttons. Nonetheless, it's one of the best games on the DS, and copies are still easy to find. The 3DS is backwards compatible with DS games, so give it a shot.
Rhythm Heaven Fever
Released: July 21st, 2011 (JP), February 13th, 2012 (NA), TBA 2012 (EU)
And so we come to the latest in the series. This is the first time the series will not be on a handheld, and yet it will be sold at a handheld price of just $29.99! The series will be returning to its roots (so to speak), and will eschew motion controls for a simple scheme using just A and/or B. Fever is also introducing multiplayer into the series, allowing two players to tackle a stage simultaneously and see who better kept the beat. You'll also be able to enjoy the game's simple art style in a clean widescreen, along with fancy features such as television speaker sound. Admittedly it's not turning the series on its head, but for thirty bucks it looks like a nice addition to the series. Not to mention enjoying the tradition of being one of the last games on the Wii from Nintendo.
This is the only English video of a full song I have seen thus far and, while well-done, its authenticity remains in question. So take it with a grain of salt, although it seems like the real deal. The practice segment ends around the three minute mark if you'd rather not watch the person fail the practice stuff a bunch.