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Review: Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii)

A screenshot of Rhythm Heaven Fever for the

A screenshot of Rhythm Heaven Fever for the Nintendo Wii. Credit: Handout

I've kept a few neighbors awake at night shredding away on my plastic guitar, taking full advantage of just how far rhythm games have come. 

On the portable Nintendo DS, "Rhythm Heaven Fever" took me from toe-tapping to finger-tapping, keeping difficult beats in sync on a touchscreen. The gameplay was fitted for the device and added an addictive tempo to everyday commuting across the subway tracks of Manhattan for many owners of the handheld platformer.

Nintendo saw potential in bringing the brand to television sets for the Wii. However, the Wii version delivers the same lackluster experience of changing channels on a remote control.

The songs and clever animation on screen tend to become more of a distraction than an enjoyable rhythmic experience, as all the game asks is that you press one or two buttons to play…no wand waving or dance movements required.

The game provides unlockable content in the form of medals that can be very hard to achieve.  Maintaining a beat as the colorful presentation of tambourine-slapping monkeys and finger-flicking peas raced across my television screen became tedious once I lost the rhythm.  As a song's tempo would increase, the beat would change and become lost within the on-screen antics.

Whether it's learning to dance or getting into shape, video games are getting us off the couch with or without a controller. Unfortunately for "Rhythm Heaven Fever," it does the reverse and sits you back down.  The only beat worth mimicking from the game's jingles is the one you'll do shaking head shaking left to right with disappointment.

YAY:
-- Fun, colorful animations
-- Songs by famous Japanese pop music producer TSUNKU catchy at times

NAY:
-- No "rhythm" needed in gameplay
-- Two-player mode needs to be unlocked in single-player mode
-- Animations and music can become distraction rather than helpful

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