#960 Rhythm Heaven

Posted: 22nd June 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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970th played so far

Genre: Music
Platform: DS
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Nintendo SPD/TNX Music Recordings
Publisher: Nintendo

It feels like I’ve always mentally divided music games between instrument-based rhythm games and other rhythm games – possibly with a handful that don’t go either way, like how Singstar technically isn’t. That last instrument based game is yet to come, but as far as I’m aware this game isn’t quite as notable, so I thought I’d get it done first during some light TV watching.

Our Thoughts

In the end Rhythm Heaven is a collection of mini games without a real through line other than its use of rhythm mechanics and line art style. I’ve only seen a small number of them, it sounds like there’s a Warioware-like pile of them in the game. So far I’ve had to open my mouth as part of a choir at the right point, fill up a robot’s fuel to the right level at the right time and do something to make monkeys clap. There were some charming ideas in there, even if the game doesn’t do as much to let you see all of them.

I struggled for two reasons. First, the game relies a lot on a flick move on the touch screen. That seems normal, but I’ve found it quite unreliable when playing – it loses track of what I’ve been doing and I kept losing points because I didn’t get it quite right. The game spends a lot of time introducing the flick as well, which I think shows just as much how the creators knew you had to learn it, and wouldn’t get it right straight away, with a big initial tutorial. The fact that I still didn’t get it that well shows that something kept going wrong there.

Then there’s the tutorials in general. Each minigame so far has had a tutorial and practice section to show what you’re doing. However, while you get enough of a chance to play, the game doesn’t give you any feedback on what you did wrong. The explanations are vague and if you don’t get it… you just don’t get it. The clapping monkey game has a jumping move in it that I never figured out – despite it being described as just a flick it doesn’t work that way.

The game is really charming, with its simple graphics and weird ideas for what you have to do and it’s a delight to see what they come up with after a while. The instructions are just too vague for me to actually get that far into the game.