Picture it: you’ve just had a long, hard day at the office. Your boss, who is normally pretty mean to you, went above and beyond the call of asshattery made you clean his personal bathroom. Your hard drive crashed, your secretary quit (and took her tight white sweater with her), and you got a call from your accountant saying your tax return would be audited this year. As you drive through the most hellacious traffic you’ve ever seen, you’re thinking about unwinding. You just want to sit down in your big recliner, take your shoes off and do a little monkey slappin’!
Of course, what we’re talking about here is playing the “Monkey Watch” mini-game in Rhythm Heaven Fever for Wii!
Rhythm Heaven Fever is a collection of a over 40 rhythmic mini-games, and 10 “Remix” challenges that are mash-ups of the mini-games you played in the previous set. These are not typical rhythm games, however. Instead of tasking the player to perform a musical number or dance, these games center around such seemingly un-rhythmic tasks like spinning in an office chair or playing golf with a pair of simians. Think of it as a game that somehow takes the frantic fun of the WarioWare series and adds in a musical twist. Each of these minimalistic designed mini-game starts out with a practice mode in which you are taught exactly what your task is in each mini-game – it is always to press A or A+B at the moments as cued by the on-screen characters and the game’s music. Be prepared to have your confidence completely obliterated when you go to the real game, because the practice segment is so low key and toned down, players will often find themselves shocked when they see the pace at which the game will actually be played.
Overall, these games are really fun if you have the patience to try them over and over again. Get a score better than “OK” on any mini-game and you will be awarded a medal. These medals can be spent on unlockable content, so it is worth the effort to perfect your timing and get a good score. However, the scoring is a little strange. For example, in the “Board Room” mini-game which involves pigs spinning around in executive chairs I had only one missed beat and was awarded an “OK”, but on a game that involved assembling robots in a factory, I destroyed or poorly assembled more than a handful of robots and was awarded a “Superb”. It is unclear exactly how the score on each game is weighted or curved. Passing along this information to players would do wonders for making it a little more accessible.
Rhythm Heaven Fever is the first game of the three in the series that has a multiplayer option. Sadly, it seems to have been tacked on as more of an afterthought that a full-fledged feature of the game. Players that unlock the multiplayer option will likely be disappointed once they discover that the mode only includes ten games to play with a friend, each of them only a minor variation of the ones offered in single player mode. It is also limited to only two local players, and has no sort of interent connectivity whatsoever. Fleshing out the game to include a four player “party mode” or some online play could have really made this game a huge draw for Wii owners, despite the flaw in the scoring system.
Visually, Rhythm Heaven Fever is one of the most adorable games seen in recent Wii history. Heavy black lines combined with smooth fields of vibrant color give it a sort of juvenile look, but it is a look that you will quickly attach to. Characters are just bizarre enough to keep your attention, yet they manage to avoid distracting you from the game. One really cool feature about this game is that the characters or environments not only give you cues of when to smash the buttons on your Wii Remote, but they also let you know when you’re doing a good job. The game looks great and runs smoothly even on a full HD television with component cables, which is, unfortunately, a rarity for Wii games.
Musically, Rhythm Heaven Fever excels as well, with jaunty instrumental fair, chalk full of heavy beats perfectly suited to this sort of title. Most of the tracks are incredibly catchy, and given the fact that you will be playing these mini-games over and over again, you will be prone to getting the songs stuck in your head. Each min-game offers a tune distinct enough that it won’t be confused with the rest of the soundtrack.
A lot of people will groan and say “Oh no, not another Wii mini-game collection!” It is an unfortunate truth that titles like this have become a nasty stain on the Wii’s reputation, but trust me when I say that Rhythm Heaven Fever is worth checking out. It’s true that the game has a couple of major flaws, but its good points outweigh the bad ones by far. Eye-catching and adorable cartoon visuals go great with the surprisingly difficult, yet simplistically styled, rhythmic gameplay to produce a “must-have” game for all Wii owners. This is one of the few times when playing with your monkey won’t make you go blind, but will leave you with a sore thumb and a endlessly tapping toe instead.
Rhythm Heaven Fever
|Cute colorful visuals and challenging rhythm gameplay make this an essential entry in any Wii owner's software library.||Scoring is inconsistent and there is no explanation of how it works, multiplayer seems tacked on and not fully realized.|
|Verdict||It is great to see such a well-made and fun game come from Nintendo this late in the Wii's lifespan.|