Review by FFandMMfan

"Warning: This game contains monkeys, blue robots, mice, samurai, onions, baseball and music, lots of music."

Thousands of years ago... an ancient wise man once said "We need a game full of mini-games that could be played in quick succession and lasting only a few seconds each"

Okay, maybe it was only a few years ago... Nevertheless, Wario Ware was created by a team at Nintendo with the goal of creating rapid minigame madness. Some time later, they had another idea...

"Hey, what if we add music and make the games a little longer?"

And this is where we currently stand, Rhythm Tengoku. It mixes Wario Ware's twisted minigame sense and rhythm game action to create a game that must be seen to be believed. No words can accurately discribe the insanity found in Rhythm Tengoku... but I will try my best.

Gameplay - 8/10
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Each level in Rhythm Tengoku is played to music, and in order to succesfully complete the stage, you must keep the rhythm as best you can. However, unlike many rhythm games such as DDR, Ouendan and Band Brothers, the game does not give you a clear representation of where and when to hit the notes. This actually, is not a problem, because with a decent sense of rhythm, you will KNOW when to hit the notes.

That may sound slightly confusing at first, but once you get into it, it becomes fairly obvious. For example, the first stage (each stage is unlocked by passing the previous one with half decent performance) displays a man clad in a Karate uniform. To the tune of the music, several objects such as pots, rocks and lightbulbs will be thrown at you and you'll have to hit the A button in tune with the music which will in turn, land a perfect hit on the object.

While many of the games rely on pressing one button at the right time, several of them detract from that. For example, one stage shows you 3 kids, each of them displaying A, B or + on their shirt. They will pass a volleyball between them and you must keep it in the air by pressing the correct button. Sometimes they will directly pass to another character, and sometimes they will juggle it in the air above themselves. All the while, being in perfect rhythm with the music.

There are 6 songs in each set, the last one being a remix of the other 5 stages within it, to create one longer song. As for how many sets their are... well, I don't wanna spoil the fun :)

Once you complete a set, you'll unlock the next set. Also, by playing perfect runs through a song, you'll get a medal, but some songs are very hard to do this on. A perfect run is NOT needed to unlock the next song or set, there are 3 ratings... lets call them "Great", "Good" and "Bad". Either of the former will pass you to the next song, and Bad will prompt you to repeat the stage again.

All in all, the stages are all very unique (aside from the remixes of stages) and provide a lot of fun. But how is the music? Lets find out...

Music - 8/10
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The core of any rhythm game, the song list! However, few, if any of them are real songs. They are mostly in-house singers, or instrumentals. But that doesn't mean they are bad. Several of the songs are very catchy, and very fun to play. Not much else can really be said, it's a nice set of songs.

Graphics - 9/10
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When rating graphics, I tend to rate the style of them, as opposed to the overall quality, because really, with next gen just on the horizon, this game, compared to others, looks pretty bad... Being on the GBA and all.

The graphics are clearly the work of Wario Ware artists, and even without the knowledge of who made the game, it's fairly clear just by looking at it. Bright, colorful, and for the most part, lacking in detail. But what they have DONE with the graphics, and the little visual mind-games it plays with you, are very well done.

To elaborate on the "Mind-games", in one level you are a Baseball player in a small room floating in space, who must hit Baseballs to the rhythm. The game's camera will constantly zoom in and out at various points, but about halfway through the song, when it zooms way out, or way inwards and then returns to normal size, the character's face will have changed, objects in the room will be altered and many other tricks that are meant to distract you. This is one of the many little flairs the game uses, partially as a distraction, and partially as a little joke. It works, and adds a lot of style points.

Story - ?/10
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With all these Japanese games I review, I really should take Japanese classes, ya? In all seriousness, I have no idea whats going on, I just know it is fun as hell. The game features large menus full of various things, choices and options... but I have no idea what any of them do. For all I know, this game could be much more than I know... or maybe not :)

But you don't really need any Japanese knowledge to complete the game, as long as you can keep a beat, it'll all flow perfectly. The only exceptions may be the stages with vague visual tutorials, like the "Rapper" stage.

Extras - ?/10
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Before you begin the game, and this actually confuses a lot of people, you'll be given a "Rhythm test" which involves tapping A in tune with the beeps that a small machine gives you. As you do it, a sheet of paper will print out, displaying your results and continue to the next stage of the test. After that, you can go to the real game, and can return and try the test again if you ever so desire.

Then, the game has Drum Lessons, where you have to play drums with the GBA buttons and play alongside your little buddy. There appear to be many levels in it, but I've not really gotten into it. As mentioned before, there are a lot of little things to do outside of the main game, but that's all just icing on the cake really, the main game is good enough.

Final Thoughts
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It's fun, but being an import, it may not be so cheap to come across it. I'd reccomend it, but it's up to you if you can deal with the heavy price tag for a GBA game.
Pros:
+ Fun gameplay, tied in with fun songs.
+ Great graphics style.
+ Tons of bonus stuff
+ Dancing monkeys!

Cons:
- A lot of bonus stuff is very Japanese heavy, and as such, will be tough to get through for importers.
- Some of the songs are just CRUEL when it comes to the amount of perfect hits you need in order to pass the stage.
- Expensive for a GBA game, since you need to import it.

If you can somehow find it at a local shop, or eBay for cheaper, I'd suggest getting it. Don't pass it up, it's worth it.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/06/06


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