Monday, July 3, 2017

Rhythm Paradise Megamix (3DS)

Rhythm Paradise Megamix, also known as Rhythm Heaven Megamix outside of Europe and Australia, is a rhythm game.  However, it is not your typical one where you play against songs; rather, it is a minigame compilation that requires the player to have a sharp sense of rhythm in order to succeed.  The game is very easy to pick up and play as each minigame only uses one or two buttons.  The easier ones early on requires only one button but later minigames are more complicated, involving up to four different types of tapping in relation to what's happening onscreen.  Rhythm Paradise is difficult in that there are usually little time for visual prompts to be registered by the player.

Furthermore, visual prompts are not reliable and serve to distract you.  Whereas playing on sound prompts is extremely difficult and if you are a newcomer, more than a few times, it feels unfair and causes unnecessary frustration.  Each minigame starts with a short tutorial or practice session to introduce the mechanics of the game.  If you fail too much in the practice, on the bottom screen, it shows you the beat visually to follow which helps a lot.  Unfortunately, they stop with this aspect once you are in the final sets of levels.  There is a huge variety of minigames, ranging from coin tosses, chopping wood in time, dancing as well as some inventive ones such as translating alien speech and golf.

It's interesting to see what the game comes up with next but once again, some of the minigames require precise timing so it can be difficult to get it 100% perfect.  There is a variety of graphics.  The game is mostly in the simple cartoon style but sometimes there will be 3D rendering.  The 3D effect used is subtle and works really well.  There is also some clever humor that doesn't feel as if it is trying too hard.  You feel that the game likes to joke around.  For example, during a game of chopping wood, you get a metal can to chop in half at a random spot and even the character gives a weird look.  This is so surprising and random that it's hilarious.

Surprisingly, there is a story mode, albeit quite simple and pointless in the end.  You meet a character named Tibby who fell from the sky.  Together, you travel the land to a high structure such that he can return to Rhythm Heaven.  You play minigames in order to restore "flow" and allowing you to pass to the next land.  The story serves to annoy the player though as it breaks the flow of the game.  You just want to get in and play the minigames yet there is so much stopping for dialogue.  The characters "have" to speak after every minigame which gets tedious.  The most annoying aspect of the game is the several false endings.

The several false endings in the story is complete with full credits being played before it says that the story is not yet finished.  You end up continuing the game so it feels lame, frustrating and stupid.  Finishing minigames will earn the player coins, which are mainly used to pay to attempt certain levels.  These serve as "boss" battles and failing means you have to choke up more coins to attempt.  If you fail a minigame too much though, then it gives you the option to spend coins to bypass it.  Midway through the story, there are harder levels of the same minigame so it feels kind of cheating when the game boasts "over 100" levels.

There are 70 returning minigames from previous Rhythm Paradise games, 20 new minigames and 10 updated versions of the older games.  One of the best sections of the game are the Remix levels where it mixes various minigames together within the one song.  It is really enjoyable if you don't stuff it up and manage to remember what you are supposed to do in each minigame since it transitions quickly during the level.  Most minigames only takes up to a minute to finish, there are some longer ones of up to 3 mins.  This makes the game excellent for short play sessions and means you can finish the story mode in around 8 hours.  Of course, there are still plenty of things left to do such as achieving higher scores in the levels.

As all the games are simple, eventually, each one starts to feel familiar and not introducing many new mechanics, therefore slowly becoming stale in the process.  Additional content include a Challenge Land where you beat a series of minigames with modified rules or tempo, which allows you to earn "Flow Balls".  These are then used to unlock more minigames that weren't available in the story.  Overall, Rhythm Paradise Megamix is a niche game that can only be recommended if you have already played the earlier ones and loved it.  As a newcomer, the minigames can be hard and the game can become frustrating.


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