Rhythmic button tapping.
When it comes to quirky games, they don’t get much quirkier, much more abstract than Rhythm Paradise on the Nintendo DS. But now, this collection of bizarre rhythm-based mini-games has made its way onto the undisputed home of mini-game collections, the Nintendo Wii, to offer a copious amount of family-friendly frustration as players gather around the large screen to watch rhythmic tapping as animals play badminton between two light aircraft, robots are assembled and a loved-up teen tries to prevent various sports balls from ruining the day of a gopher. Like I said, quirky…
Rhythm Paradise, also known as Rhythm Heaven, introduced the world to a collection of incredibly difficult (especially for people with no rhythm) mini-games on the DS back in 2009. Whichever of the mini-games you played, success was achieved by simply tapping along to the music. But it was the strange subjects of these mini-games that kept players interested and pushed them to unlock the next game, just to see what was going to happen. Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise, or Rhythm Heaven Fever, has now brought that same feeling of compulsion to the Nintendo Wii.
Playing on the Wii, the game is simplicity itself to understand. Players simply have to press the A button, the B button or both together at certain times to score. The difficulty comes with having to press these buttons at exactly the right time. Thankfully, with controls as simple as this, the button presses work perfectly without any degree of lag – so any errors are purely down to the player.There are more than 50 mini-games in the single player mode through which to work. For every four games, the player will be confronted with a Remix, a boss game of sorts which will combine everything learnt from the last four games. The games start relatively easy, at least for someone who can keep a beat, but quite quickly ramp up in difficulty. Progression in the game relies on completing a mini-game to unlock the next one, which may cause some trouble as the games get harder. However, the developers have provided a nice little help system that allows players to skip games if they really are having too much trouble.
Of the mini-games themselves, variety is the key. There is no underlying story here, no way the games are linked together. One minute players will be tapping pegs through holes, something that players of the DS title will remember, and the next minute they will be spinning on office chairs. One of the early games involves hitting a golf ball, which is propelled towards you at varying speeds by a couple of animals, into the hole on a distant island. The first game that I got stuck on, which will remain emblazoned in my mind for the rest of my gaming life, involved a monkey holding onto the minute hand of a giant clock, having to “high five” other monkeys as the hand moved. It really is exciting just to see what is coming next.
Much like the gameplay, the visuals are simple. That’s not to say that they don’t look good, just that distraction is kept to a minimum so the player can concentrate on keeping the rhythm. Everything is colourful and easy on the eye. The audio is as varied as the mini-games, with simple tunes to keep rhythm to that the player will find themselves humming long after they have thrown down the Wiimote in frustration. As a package, it is all put together very well and has made the transition from small to big screen successfully.
Once the single player game has been completed, or more likely shouted at and refused to play anymore, there are a selection of unlockable challenges to play with, and the multiplayer. Sadly the multiplayer offering feels very much like an after thought, with only 10 games and only playable by two players. Still, it is a welcome addition to the package and, to be honest, as much fun can be had by watching someone else struggle with a mini-game as playing the game with them. Slightly disappointing, but the compelling gameplay of the single player mode more than makes up for it.
Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise offers a quick hit of fun that players will keep coming back to. It may not be deep and meaningful, but it is fun, entertaining and has enough content to justify the price. Pick it up and walk away with a smile.