Rhythm Paradise Megamix
I have a soft spot for rhythm games. When you boil it down to core components, gameplay is always a series of button presses, pressed at just the right time, and rhythm games take this to the natural conclusion, giving specific and varied cues and scoring you based on your accuracy. It’s glorious. And therefore, it is no surprise that Nintendo’s Rhythm Paradise Megamix (or Rhythm Heaven, depending on where you live) is a game I enjoy quite a lot.
So what is Rhythm Paradise? It’s a mini-game collection, really, with a massive selection of short but sweet rhythm games, played along to catchy tunes. It’s straightforward and driven along by a fun, but fairly loose, narrative. You meet Tibby, a small pink bear with an afro larger than his body, who has fallen from Rhythm Heaven. His goal is to travel to a tower where he can be lifted back to Rhythm Heaven. On the way you meet a whole cast of, erm, colorful characters that stop you in your tracks, refusing to open the way forward unless you complete four tasks – and yes, those tasks and rhythm minigames. This is known as “flow”.
Restoring flow everywhere you go is the main “narrative” point in Rhythm Paradise, but as you can probably imagine, the narrative isn’t actually that important – what’s important are the minigames. Since this is a Megamix, it includes a large list of the very best games from the series’ past. If you’ve played a Rhythm Paradise game, then you’ll likely recognize more than a few of the included games and songs, but equally, I doubt you’ll be able to complain much.
The thing about Rhythm Paradise is that the premise is so very simple, especially when compared to other rhythm games. In Guitar Hero you have multiple colored buttons to juggle in one hand while doing something else in another, and in Persona 4 Dancing All Night you need to watch for six different button prompts and a stick motion. In Rhythm Paradise you’ll primarily use the A button, sometimes you’ll tap it, sometimes you’ll hold it – in very rare occasions, you may have to press a D-Pad direction or the B button. That is as complex as it gets, but the game is actually quite punishing; although passing minigames and progressing through the game is a simple task, the time window you get given in order to hit a perfect note is very strict indeed, giving you plenty of room for improvement.
But none of this answers why the minigames and beats in Rhythm Paradise Megamix are so damn catchy. Absurd tracks like Ringside, Monkey Watch, Fruit Basket and so many more will get stuck in your head for seemingly no reason. The beats are simple, the sound effects are cute, but it can be more difficult than finishing the game to just stop the tracks from repeating in your head.
All of that without mentioning that the writing in this game is up to the witty standard that Nintendo’s Treehouse has been known for lately. Tibby is on a mission back to Rhythm Heaven, and all of the people stepping in his way asking you to restore flow to their house, or shop, or whatever, are getting in the way. Tibby doesn’t pull his punches – but neither do the slightly psychotic lot you’ll meet in Megamix. Everyone who interrupts your journey has a unique personality which is, well, pretty weird, and they’ll either bribe, threaten or guilt you into helping them one way or another.
A lovely feature of previous games making a return are Remixes – you’ll have to play five minigames in a specific order, and this is essentially to get you acquainted with them, before the game challenges you with a Remix, where each of the minigames you just played take the form of one long song, and you must remember each cue and pattern in order to pass. It’s simple enough, but each Remix feels like a brilliant finale to a series of excellent minigames.
The only thing left to say is that Rhythm Paradise Megamix is beautifully wacky. Of course, each minigame gives you audio cues – it is a rhythm game, after all – but they’re also set to wonderful visuals. Give an interview as a wrestler, catch some fruit as it bounces down the stairs, clap in time with the other monkeys, and so on, and so forth. It’s always weird, but makes perfect sense when you’re exclusively focused on keeping the beat going.
There’s nothing more to say about Rhythm Paradise Megamix – as a rhythm game, it’s utterly magical, and if you’ve never played a Rhythm Paradise game before you’re even more likely to adore it, because you’ll be getting the greatest hits of all the previous titles in the series. An essential 3DS purchase for anyone with a passing interest in the genre.
Wacky, weird and oh-so-wonderful. Consider Rhythm Paradise Megamix to be an essential part of your 3DS collection.
Review code provided by the publisher.
If you have even a passing interest in rhythm games, this one is essential. Loads of fun, wacky beats to play along to, and it just doesn't get old.
- A collection of the best rhythm games in the series
- Perfect for commutes, travelling, or sitting and playing for hours
- More classic minigames than new ones