Rhythm Heaven may not be visually spectacular, but it’s one of the most robust and addictive games you’ll play in a while. All you need to master is three simple touch screen commands and you find yourself immersed withing one of the most creative and original music-based games out there.
Developed by the same team that created Wario Ware, Rhythm Heaven started out as a Japanese Game Boy Advance title called Rhythm Tengoku. Thinking completely out of the box, the team focused on quick fire rhythm based situations; clap your hands, hit a peg through two holes, hit a ping pong ball. Little tasks that have you taking note of the visual cues and as well as the rhythm of the music. You’ll find yourself flicking the stylus against the touch-screen in time to the beat.
The game is comprised of six tiers with four different musical challenges, with each tier mashing up the four into a fifth “Remix” challenge. While it may not be that difficult to complete each level, unlocking the hidden unlockables and earning gold medals is quite challenging. Achieving a Superb rating feels good, since in most cases you’ll have gone through the challenge numerous times. The challenge of each level helps with the replay value of the game.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed the music in the game. Using completely original material, you’ll find yourself singing along in many cases. Unfortunately you’ll have to put up with some strange lyrics that might have gotten mistranslated during the localization process. Still, nearly every mini-game has a catchy tune, and you’ll often find yourself going back to a level simply for the music.
Overall, Rhythm Heaven is a blast to play. While it uses basic visuals, the game mechanics and music will hook you immediately. It’s completely off the wall and unlike anything you’ve ever played on the DS systems, not to mention incredibly fun and addicting. Once you pop this in your won’t stop until you finish the game.