Friday, March 23, 2012

Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii)

Time Played: 20min

What Happened:

I love the original Rhythm Heaven on DS so I was pretty excited when I found out they were making a new one for the Wii. In particular, my friends were passing around a link to "The Wrestler" which was hilarious so I couldn't wait to see what other cool mini games were in the new version. (Note: there are a surprising number of fan versions of the wrestler on YouTube.)

The Wii version is pretty much the same as the DS version as far as I can tell so far. You start the game and get a brief introduction by some characters who give you a rhythm test (maybe later I'm supposed to take it again to see if I've improved?) and then you go straight to a menu which leads to the mini games. You unlock games one at a time in columns - four unique games, and then a "remix" which is a sequence made up of clips of each of the 4 games. The mini games themselves are, as implied by the title, all rhythm based. Each takes you through a (skippable) tutorial, and then you tap your way through a 2-3 min "song." There are four possible outcomes for each game: it will either tell you to retry, give you an embarrassing "ok..." (with sweat drops and everything), give you a medal, or give you a "perfect." You always at least need to get an ok before unlocking the next game.

What I Liked:

Simple Yet Challenging. I know, right? It even says that on the box... It's true though. I struggle quite a bit in trying to figure out exactly why I find these games fun, but I think it comes down to the fact that they're super simple to understand, but I still take quite a bit of practice to get a perfect. It's never "too easy" or "too hard," at least for me. (Also they are hilarious, see next.)

Humor & Charm. I love crazy over the top stuff (example: Beyblade). These mini games are ridiculous in the best possible way. Kick soccer balls away to not ruin the weasels date? Catch tiny peas on a fork which are being flicked at you at a high velocity from so far away you can't even see the person? Be a monkey that lives inside of a wrist watch and tells the time by high-fiving other monkeys? I <3 this sort of stuff.

The Little Things. I think a lot of lessons can be learned from this game in terms of great, clear, fun ways to give positive and negative feedback to the player. Positive feedback is wonderful, and negative feedback, while still making you feel your miss, is usually hilarious - so I'm usually laughing instead of getting frustrated. For example, in "Monkey Tambourine," (side note, out of the 8 games so far, there have been monkeys in 3 of them) there is a small monkey who plays a rhythm and you repeat it. If you're slightly off, he grits his teeth as though he's totally embarrassed for you. If you miss completely, a frog lands on his head for an empty beat. If you succeed, his eyes get wide, and a spray of flowers appears above his head. Goofy, simple things that make this game feel good.

What I Didn't Like:

Platform! So clearly it's a Nintendo game, but I can't think of any particular reason besides that that this is only on the Wii. (Yes, yes, I know how it works - I just mean conceptually.) For the majority of the game you only press the "A" button, and in a couple of games it's a combination of A and B. It's super simple and the graphics are all 2D, so I can't imagine it would be expensive to port. In particular, an iOS version could work really well.

Wiimote. Since it does only require A and B button pressing and it is on the Wii, I did notice that "A" really isn't that great for fast tapping. In the one game I've played so far the required speed, I found that I actually needed to turn the Wiimote sideways to succeed. I needed that pressure on the bottom of the controller that you can't really get from holding a Wiimote the standard way. It's a big, deep, chunky button, so I had some issues there.

Hand-Holding? It couldn't very well be a modern Japanese game without a bit of over-explanation, right? For the most part, the constant explanation hasn't bothered me. In general, things are cutely written so I don't mind - but every once In awhile, they 'reassure' me just a little too much, which rubs me the wrong way.

How Do I Feel About Continuing?:

I'm totally there. I fully intend to play through to see the rest of the mini-games. That's the fun in this game: seeing what wacky ideas they've come up with, so clearly I have to play to the end.

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