By Spencer . February 13, 2012 . 6:54am
What started out as a Game Boy Advance game, Rhythm Heaven is finally on consoles (and TVs sans Game Boy Player) with Rhythm Heaven Fever for Wii. If you played Rhythm Heaven on the Nintendo DS you have a good idea of what to expect – catchy tunes and wacky scenes. The main difference is you don’t flick a touch screen in Rhythm Heaven Fever. This game uses buttons just like the original Rhythm Heaven. All of the 50+ games are played with the "A" button and the Trauma Center "A + B" tweezer pinch.
Simple controls, but in some ways Rhythm Heaven Fever is more difficult than Rock Band or Guitar Freaks. The game begins with a rhythm test that introduces the idea of following the rhythm in your mind. With few visual cues and no notes to follow, the key to Rhythm Heaven is tapping to the beat. I learned how to do that from a monkey caddy in the first game, Hole in One, where a chimp throws a golf ball and you swing at it by pressing A. Hit the ball on beat and you’ll send it flying right into the hole. To mix things up, there’s also a mandrill who lobs golf balls at a different rhythm count.
When you unwrap Rhythm Heaven Fever, Hole in One is the only game available. Each time you complete a game with an OK or better you’ll unlock a new game to play. So far, I caught a fish that taunts players even more than the Duck Hunt dog, played badminton with a cat flying a plane, and built robots by holding A+B to screw their heads on. First Date has a cute story of a boy sitting with a girl on his first date, but instead of trying to woo her… he kicks soccer and footballs so they don’t hit two weasels on a date. Ringside wins the award for most addictive melody.
Songs in Rhythm Heaven Fever have been localized. Here’s the same song in the Japanese version, Minna no Rhythm Heaven.
After playing four games, you have to complete a "boss" level to move on. Remix stages take elements from the four games you (hopefully!) mastered and mashes them together jumping from catching peas with a fork to hi-fiving monkeys. For me, remix stages were bottlenecks and I had to repeat one of them over a dozen times just to see the next set of games. At this point, I wondered why doesn’t Rhythm Heaven Fever have a "restart" option in the main menu.
Rhythm Heaven Fever has a few two player mini-games, which are actually just multiplayer versions of the single player games. Ringside, for example, has two wrestlers instead of one. Each player controls one wrestler and taps A through the same song. The game rates both players at the end and your combined score determines if you unlock another two player game or not. There isn’t much else to multiplayer and after a trying two player mode once you’ll probably go back to watching other people play Rhythm Heaven Fever while waiting your turn. Not a big deal since the wacky stories are entertaining on their own.
Nintendo packed a bunch of content in the $29.99 game, but I wonder how many players will see all of it. There are neat rhythm toys to play with, but you can only see these if you collect enough medals (that means scoring a superb or higher). Songs and story details require a perfect rating to unlock. I suppose the latter unlockables are only for diehard fans, but I’m not even close to seeing all of the rhythm toys. I guess it’s time to try catching candy and swatting spiders away again!