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"[GAME] Rhythm Paradise"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Rhythm Heaven'.
Tue 09/06/09 at 17:26
Regular
"previously phuzzy."
Posts: 3,487
Any long-time reader of my reviews (“Hi Mum!”) will know that I’m pretty much knee-deep into rhythm action games. Pressing, strumming, clicking, tracing – any release with some form of finger numbing beat matching will generally involve me making a visit to one of Quidco’s finest and spending some silly amount of cash. I swear I have plastic instruments set up in my place like I’m in some Fisher Price band. Which is exactly what people point out, shortly before bursting out laughing and telling me to learn a real instrument. THE DRUMS ARE REAL PEOPLE. THE DRUMS. ARE REAL.

Anyway. Up until recently, these games were pretty much the preserve of the home consoles. The Amplitudes and Rez’, the Guitar Heroes and Rock Bands, the Gitaroo Men and Parappa the Rappas. This, however, is starting to change. I’m betting I’m not the only one who’s fairly excited about Rock Band Unplugged later this month. What’s more, you’ve got earlier titles such as the fantastic Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! / Elite Beat Agents from inis, the less fantastic Guitar Hero: On Tour, and the outfield bizarreness of Gitaroo Man PSP. None of these, however, have really done anything that new. Hell, Rock Band Unplugged might as well be called ‘Amplitude PSP’. This, friends, is where Rhythm Paradise steps in.

Called ‘Rhythm Tengoku’ (‘Rhythm Heaven’) in its native land of Japan, Rhythm Paradise is a little gem that, following the conventional publisher rules of what makes it to the West, really shouldn’t have been released. Effectively a collection of beat-based minigames, the objective is simple. Keep in time with the music, mixing 2 key moves (the tap and the flick) to build robots, shoot down aliens, train ducks, kick moles and perform other strange and for the most part inexplicable tasks. Do it well, and you’ll unlock the next game – with various remarks judging your performance at the end. Do it really well, and you’ll earn yourself a medal to spend in the in-game shop. Muck it up? That’ll be a replay for you sir.

The 2 moves are simple. Tapping the screen is just that, a gentle beat on the touch panel with the stylus. Flicking involves an action much like how you’d draw the tail of a tick mark, holding down the stylus on the spot and then speedily swiping up or down. Learn the 2, and every game is just a variation on these concepts. Tapping in time with a melody or with the drums, flicking on the offbeat – it’s incredibly satisfying and means the only thing between you and a ‘Perfect’ is your sense of rhythm.

Yes indeed, a gamer’s sense of rhythm. Let’s be fair here: we’re not exactly famed for our stunning moves on the dancefloor... so whilst the main game sounds basic (deceptively so), the skill in this game is all in how well you can keep a beat. The early games ease you in softly, not mixing the moves up too much so that you can focus all your energies on following the music. The remix sections (fast-paced games consisting of chunks for the prior 5 challenges without a practice session) push the difficulty up by mixing up moves and objectives. But later challenges, such as changing from beat to offbeat, or memorising elongated patterns, really do begin to require incredible rhythm. I thought I’d be pretty good at this from the get-go, seeing my love of rhythm games. Not so – in particular,[ the game involving switching from the beat to the off-beat, without missing a beat, had ME beat. Beat beat. Beat.

The minigames are as varied as they can be, considering the limited moves. I’ve tried to avoid using the tired alliteration of ‘wacky and weird’, but unfortunately this game review pretty much requires it. Presented as a tiled array of squares, with a remix every 5, the 36 or so games will give you plenty of playtime, if only for the fact you can only get a ‘Perfect’ rating at certain times (with a flashing message throughout turning the tension knob right to 11). Whilst nothing special graphically, each section is colourfully presented with a practice session before you start, and some entertaining almost-Janglish banter between you and whatever madcap character is dishing out the orders.

Interestingly, and what’s different to most titles in this genre, is that I’ve not yet mentioned what the music is like. I think this is a really key point – whilst the songs are pretty good; semi-decent pop tunes that are equal parts enjoyable and forgettable, this game is not about the anthems. They’re but a sideshow to the real star: rhythm. The satisfaction here is not from rocking out like Bon Jovi, or following a trace of a heart across the screen. It’s all in matching every beat and keeping up the rhythm from start to finish. Aside from the medals you earn for doing well, successive good showings in the games well increase your ‘Flow’, a measure of your cumulative success. Whilst initially easy to increase, you’ll find breaking the 100 barrier a toughie, especially if, like me, you can’t play an instrument.

I wouldn’t go as far as calling it fantastic, or 10/10, but Rhythm Paradise has both charm and simplicity. To be totally fair, so do lots of things, and not all of them cost £30. But the fact that there’s plenty of real play to be had, and it has a great combo of gameplay that allows both 5 minute or 5 hour stints, means you’ll be tapping and flicking long after you’ve given up that whole ‘daily’ business that Dr Kawashima keeps going on about.

Buy me if you like niche, strange titles, and find yourself drumming your fingers on tables at the first sign of a beat.

Don’t buy me if you like you’re rhythm games rocking out, with tracks and peripherals and buttons and SHINY POWERUPS.
Sun 01/08/10 at 09:10
Regular
Posts: 28
Awesome review!!!! I like your style and system to help people knw if they should buy it or not! I wrote one too! Please read it!
Tue 09/06/09 at 17:26
Regular
"previously phuzzy."
Posts: 3,487
Any long-time reader of my reviews (“Hi Mum!”) will know that I’m pretty much knee-deep into rhythm action games. Pressing, strumming, clicking, tracing – any release with some form of finger numbing beat matching will generally involve me making a visit to one of Quidco’s finest and spending some silly amount of cash. I swear I have plastic instruments set up in my place like I’m in some Fisher Price band. Which is exactly what people point out, shortly before bursting out laughing and telling me to learn a real instrument. THE DRUMS ARE REAL PEOPLE. THE DRUMS. ARE REAL.

Anyway. Up until recently, these games were pretty much the preserve of the home consoles. The Amplitudes and Rez’, the Guitar Heroes and Rock Bands, the Gitaroo Men and Parappa the Rappas. This, however, is starting to change. I’m betting I’m not the only one who’s fairly excited about Rock Band Unplugged later this month. What’s more, you’ve got earlier titles such as the fantastic Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! / Elite Beat Agents from inis, the less fantastic Guitar Hero: On Tour, and the outfield bizarreness of Gitaroo Man PSP. None of these, however, have really done anything that new. Hell, Rock Band Unplugged might as well be called ‘Amplitude PSP’. This, friends, is where Rhythm Paradise steps in.

Called ‘Rhythm Tengoku’ (‘Rhythm Heaven’) in its native land of Japan, Rhythm Paradise is a little gem that, following the conventional publisher rules of what makes it to the West, really shouldn’t have been released. Effectively a collection of beat-based minigames, the objective is simple. Keep in time with the music, mixing 2 key moves (the tap and the flick) to build robots, shoot down aliens, train ducks, kick moles and perform other strange and for the most part inexplicable tasks. Do it well, and you’ll unlock the next game – with various remarks judging your performance at the end. Do it really well, and you’ll earn yourself a medal to spend in the in-game shop. Muck it up? That’ll be a replay for you sir.

The 2 moves are simple. Tapping the screen is just that, a gentle beat on the touch panel with the stylus. Flicking involves an action much like how you’d draw the tail of a tick mark, holding down the stylus on the spot and then speedily swiping up or down. Learn the 2, and every game is just a variation on these concepts. Tapping in time with a melody or with the drums, flicking on the offbeat – it’s incredibly satisfying and means the only thing between you and a ‘Perfect’ is your sense of rhythm.

Yes indeed, a gamer’s sense of rhythm. Let’s be fair here: we’re not exactly famed for our stunning moves on the dancefloor... so whilst the main game sounds basic (deceptively so), the skill in this game is all in how well you can keep a beat. The early games ease you in softly, not mixing the moves up too much so that you can focus all your energies on following the music. The remix sections (fast-paced games consisting of chunks for the prior 5 challenges without a practice session) push the difficulty up by mixing up moves and objectives. But later challenges, such as changing from beat to offbeat, or memorising elongated patterns, really do begin to require incredible rhythm. I thought I’d be pretty good at this from the get-go, seeing my love of rhythm games. Not so – in particular,[ the game involving switching from the beat to the off-beat, without missing a beat, had ME beat. Beat beat. Beat.

The minigames are as varied as they can be, considering the limited moves. I’ve tried to avoid using the tired alliteration of ‘wacky and weird’, but unfortunately this game review pretty much requires it. Presented as a tiled array of squares, with a remix every 5, the 36 or so games will give you plenty of playtime, if only for the fact you can only get a ‘Perfect’ rating at certain times (with a flashing message throughout turning the tension knob right to 11). Whilst nothing special graphically, each section is colourfully presented with a practice session before you start, and some entertaining almost-Janglish banter between you and whatever madcap character is dishing out the orders.

Interestingly, and what’s different to most titles in this genre, is that I’ve not yet mentioned what the music is like. I think this is a really key point – whilst the songs are pretty good; semi-decent pop tunes that are equal parts enjoyable and forgettable, this game is not about the anthems. They’re but a sideshow to the real star: rhythm. The satisfaction here is not from rocking out like Bon Jovi, or following a trace of a heart across the screen. It’s all in matching every beat and keeping up the rhythm from start to finish. Aside from the medals you earn for doing well, successive good showings in the games well increase your ‘Flow’, a measure of your cumulative success. Whilst initially easy to increase, you’ll find breaking the 100 barrier a toughie, especially if, like me, you can’t play an instrument.

I wouldn’t go as far as calling it fantastic, or 10/10, but Rhythm Paradise has both charm and simplicity. To be totally fair, so do lots of things, and not all of them cost £30. But the fact that there’s plenty of real play to be had, and it has a great combo of gameplay that allows both 5 minute or 5 hour stints, means you’ll be tapping and flicking long after you’ve given up that whole ‘daily’ business that Dr Kawashima keeps going on about.

Buy me if you like niche, strange titles, and find yourself drumming your fingers on tables at the first sign of a beat.

Don’t buy me if you like you’re rhythm games rocking out, with tracks and peripherals and buttons and SHINY POWERUPS.

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