I have to confess that I am not particularly talented musically. I have spent two years trying to learn the keyboard and still sound like a cat trying to paw at a fly moving along the keys, and when it comes to dancing to a rhythm I’m hardly Fred Astaire. I enjoy rhythm games, but when it comes to Guitar Hero and its ilk I’m competent but no Jimi Hendrix. But I still enjoy them, and there is one in particular that I remember fondly.
Three years ago, after recommendations online, I purchased a DS game called Rhythm Paradise and though I have since misplaced the cartridge and have gone on a hunt to find it (with no luck I might add), I am happy to report I can play a new version of it now released on the Wii.
Beat The Beat: Rhythm Paradise doesn’t make many changes from the original. Your job is still to fulfil certain tasks using the inputs of the controller – in the original the DS touchscreen, on this the A or A+B buttons of the Wii remote – no motion controls here! – but the trick is that these have to match the beat. So, for instance, in the first game you have to hit golf balls throw at you by a monkey (yes, honestly) and press A at the right time, on the beat, to launch a successful golf swing that pots a hole in one. Every so often, a larger Mandrill (yes, I’m still not making this up) will throw a larger ball and you have to press A+B to hit that, again on the beat.
And so that really sets you up for the game. No matter whether you’re high-fiving monkeys in a strange pocket watch, playing aerial badminton with a cat or screwing down the heads of robots, those are the only two controller combinations you need to know. But it’s the changing songs, beats, tempos and challenges that make each mini-game unique.
Coming from the creators of WarioWare, you’ll appreciate how crazy the game is. Backed up by some very catchy and addictive tunes, each of the fifty games will have you quickly humming the tune and some will downright stick in your head – the badminton game, in particular. To progress in the game, you have to score at least an ‘OK’ on the game, meaning you’ve performed average in the game and hit enough targets on the beat. This isn’t as simple as it sounds and sometimes getting just an OK on a mini-game is difficult. Do well enough and you get ‘Superb’ – and a medal – but do too badly and you’ll be greeted by a suggestion on where you went wrong and the request to ‘try again’.
Every fifth game is a remix including elements from the previous four games, mixing them up with a new tune and giving you an extra challenge.
Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise allows you to save up to four users on your Wii, labelled with a choice of names or Mii characters, and other than that, there are very few options aside from changing between English and Japanese soundtracks. Inside the game you have the main challenges but also a series of side-quests you unlock by doing well. Get a Superb on a challenge and you get a medal; get enough medals and you unlock small rhythm games that give you additional challenges, such as pulling a toy car back but letting go on the beat so it matches the target distance.
Every so often you’ll also get a special challenge to complete one of the mini-games without making a mistake to get a perfect ranking, with three goes to do this before the challenge disappearances. Do this successfully – and even on the easiest mini-game this is very tricky – and you unlock a song to listen to in full or a text to read, accessible at the café where the Barista will also let you skip some challenges if you find them too tricky and have failed lots of times. You can also do the rhythm test again here which greets you as you first play the game to introduce you to the style of play.
There are also some endless challenges which you unlock as you do well which flesh out the game as well as a limited number of two-player games plus some two-player endless games which are unlocked for doing well with a friend.
Graphically, the game isn’t going to win any awards. The Flash-style graphics don’t even push the Wii to its limits but they are charming and fit the style of the game and it’s a visual style that is stuck to with a flourish and captivates you. It’s the sound and music though where the game excels and you’ll have the tunes stuck in your head for ages. Plus, sometimes it’s easier to close your eyes and concentrate on the tune rather than the graphics, and often the game knows this and throws visual distractions at you such as a monkey in a balloon or cloud cover to add a bit more challenge.
There are, though, a few downsides to the game. It’s very challenging and if, like me, you’re not exactly very good at holding a rhythm, you will struggle at times and it can become frustrating. But, in an era when we often complain about games being too simple, it’s a little bit difficult to complain about a game that rewards you for over-coming difficulties.
The amount of correct matches needed to score, say, an OK, or a superb does at times seem to vary and you can do really well and miss only a couple and still get an OK, but in most cases it’s spot on. It’s also a little bit frustrating that there’s no quick ‘try again’ after failing a mini-game.
Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise is not a game that’s going to win awards for its graphics or depth, but it should do for its addictive play, catchy soundtrack and laugh-out-loud mini-games that capture that WarioWare craziness. It is perhaps a little on the difficult side, but this does mean that completing a mini-game successfully feels like a real effort and reward. Throw in some extra side-games and quests and this is a game well worth picking up.
I first played this game with friends as part of a party. No one was keen to play it when I showed off the box but after fifteen minutes in the company of the mad music games most were won over and enjoyed it as we took turns in trying to beat the single player mode, which compensates for the small number of specific two player challenges. That speaks volumes of how much you should grab a copy of this game. It certainly fulfils that cliché of easy to pick up but hard to master.
Well worth picking up with a long single player mode that is a challenge to complete with a lot of playability as you go back to get superb scores and then your perfect achievements.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Wii code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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