Rhythm Heaven Fever Review: Wii Are A Metronome

It’s been a few years since we last visited the world of Rhythm Heaven. Back then, we were only allowed to venture so far in – limited by our tiny screens and the necessity of a pen stylus to play rhythm games. You can put that worry to rest, unless you’re more worried about using the Wiimote for the new Rhythm Heaven Fever. Fever boasts “more than 50 new levels,” though a few of the later levels are just copied and re-skinned from earlier levels to appear different. But playing with the Wiimote makes them all different from the rhythmic minigames that we encountered on the DS.

Platforms: Wii
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Beat-Button Mash-up!
Release Date: February 13, 2012
ESRB Rating: Everyone

At the very heart of the matter, Fever excels at what it does – providing a cheap, quick thrill to anyone well-versed with rhythm games, and seeking a cheap laugh while doing so. Note: it is a very quick thrill, and a very cheap laugh. Lengthwise, the game took me roughly three hours to complete – of course, I didn’t achieve 100% completionist status with all gold medals, all extra games unlocked, and that whole shebang. So theoretically, there may be an extra hour added to the game’s length if you like to flaunt your perfect-rhythm-having-ness. Though there are debatably more impressive ways to do this.

Stylistically, the game is a pretty big clone of the WarioWare games, even moreso than the DS’ Rhythm Heaven experience. The same three less-than-memorable main characters make a brief appearance in Fever, but otherwise, many of the minigames depart from these characters. They generally hold a very WarioWare feel to them, which is a flavor of absurdity different than that found in the previous Rhythm Heaven game.

As with its predecessor, Fever sorts its rhythm games into sets of four, with a “remix” at the end of each set. Each set builds to test your memory and compatibility skills using the rhythms and cues that you’ve learned. Each rhythm game is based off of a half-song-length snippet, enabling the player to utilize all of the routines demonstrated in each game’s initial practice session.

The minigames aren’t terribly difficult, as the controls simply consist of pressing A, B, or both at the same time. We should all be thankful that the premise of motion controls in this game never got anywhere in its development. The toughest part is actually hitting the cues on time. The Rhythm Heaven series – for those who know it – is generally known for being strict on rhythmic timing, making this a challenge, but keeping it simple at the same time. Occasionally, the game will trip up the player, adding distractions to any potential visual cues that the player may have become accustomed to throughout their practice runs.

Remixes – as previously mentioned – pull all four of the prior rhythm games and mold them to fit a new song, often increasing or decreasing the tempo in order to make an adaptable group of rhythmic exercises merge sensibly. Remixes can be easily compared to WarioWare’s Remix stages, where speed is also increased.

Certain factors in the player’s performance for each rhythm game make up the player’s score ranking, which consist of “Try Again,” “OK,” or “Superb.” Superb rankings award gold medals for the stages in which they were earned, and gold medals are required to unlock any extras. These extras include the self-explanatory rhythm toys, unlockable music tracks, or the aforementioned re-skinned rhythm games.

Even with Remixes and medals, there isn’t a lot of meat in Fever, but it gets the job done if you’re looking for a quick, zany thrill to kill an afternoon. Even at $30, the price point is a bit high for what the game actually offers, but that greatly depends on the person who will be playing the game, and their individual tastes toward this off-beat genre.

Review Disclosure: A review copy of Rhythm Heaven Fever was provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this review.

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