Platform: Nintendo 3DS (reviewed)
Previously Released: Gameboy Advancce, Nintendo DS
Developers: Nintendo SDP
Rhythm Heaven Megamix is another fever dream from the guys at Nintendo SDP, the same Nintendo division that made the WarioWare series. This is actually immediately apparent from the get-go, as the game is just as non-sequitur and silly as their WarioWare titles.
It’s not actually a reboot or re-release of the previous games, but instead incorporates many old and new mini-games into the mix. It also features a story, something new to the series known for random happenings. Never fear though! Even with a story, this game makes very little sense in a good and charming way. You help a little guy named Tibby get back to his home, Heaven World. That’s right, Heaven World. You look for a way back up to this Heaven World and conveniently, there’s this tower that might reach it! This is where the game takes place.
You and Tibby help various strangers (emphasis on strange) get their “flow” back through rhythm games and in return, they give you a key to their level of the tower so you can proceed to the next. There’s really not much to say here. At least, there’s not much to say that would make sense. You just climb the tower and complete rhythm games that are each different from the last.
Being the perfect concoction that the WarioWare series is known for, Rhythm Heaven Megamix has the perfect mix of random and entertaining. While each stage is bizarre in a “how did you even think of this?” sort of way, the objective that follows fits within the quirky scene perfectly.
The controls are easy enough to learn, and somewhat challenging to master. Basically, you can hit right on the beat, or be early or late. Being perfect nets you a 100 at the end of the level, while being late or early, but still on the beat will net you less. The levels are just short enough that when you score a 91%, you may find yourself trying again, as each level is enjoyable enough to replay and short enough to not take up too much time.
The controls center around rhythm of course, but even then it doesn’t get repetitive. One level had me catching fruit falling down some stairs. Different fruits fell at different tempos. Many games in the first couple of stages involved hitting buttons on the right beat, but my personal favorite level instructed me on how to “Shut Your Yap”. There were three kids standing next to each other in a chorus. The one I was assuming was me was just making an annoying, long tone. I was then instructed to press A to Shut Your Yap. After pressing A, the character stopped yelling. I then had to let go of A at the right time to sing with the chorus correctly. A refreshing change to the first five or so levels. It also made me laugh a lot more than perhaps acceptable.
This game is charming and simple enough to pick up and play on the go. It also has that secret sauce that makes you want to repeat a level over and over until you get a 100% on it. Not only that, but each level is surprisingly different from the last. Different rhythms, different genres and even completely different concepts (like the Yap kid). There’s even multiplayer version of levels that can be played over download play, so only one version of the game is needed.
Rhythm Heaven Megamix has the feel you’d expect from the makers of WarioWare, but is different enough to warrant the attention. Being on a handheld is definitely the selling point of this game. It’s perfect for playing in the back of the car or on a bus. It’s easy to put down if needed, but hard to put down if determined, which is the perfect mix for a game full of mini-games.