Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tapping to the beats : "Rhythm Tengoku Gold" Review

Not too long ago, the guys behind "WarioWare" games released a funky GBA Rhythm game, "Rhythm Tengoku" (literally meaning "Rhythm Heaven" in English). The game really did turn out to be a sort of "heaven" for fans of rhythm games with its funky levels, comical characters and very simple gameplay. It was definitely a memorable experience all throughout. Now, after 2 years, Rhythm Tengoku Gold (RTG) released for the DS ,in Japan.

Lets have a look at short video to introduce you to the game

*How to be rhythmic

The game has stuck to its core and the gameplay is as rhythmic as before. The cartoony and personified art style is retained in RTG, and the animations of the characters will make you want to swing along to the rhythm. This time, you will observe that the game takes advantage of the DS's power and contains many levels where the objects are rendered in 3D rather than in good 'ol 2D. Every thing represented on the screen has high quality animation expressing their own rhythm, be it clapping hands, or rolling blocks.

Gameplay this time revolves around you doing two basic actions (as opposed to the previous' single-button-press gameplay). The first action being a single tap on the screen, which feels very similar to the old button tapping gameplay. Then there is the second action which is a "down to up" sliding action. This might take a bit getting used to, as changing instantaneously from a continuous tapping motion to a sliding one can get confusing at times. Also, timing on the sliding motions have to be more precise, making games based on sliding a bit more difficult. Overall difficulty of the game is "OK" with games not being too easy and not too hard with the exception of 1 or 2 games which can be very difficult to pass.

*Simple yet effective

RTG has the same basic game structure as the previous one. There are 4 different mini-games to be played in every level. Each game begins with a simple training session, which any one (even those, who have little to no knowledge of Japanese) can understand. After succeeding in the training level, the main game starts, usually lasting ~2mins.

The simple level structure and lack of "story" allows for a perfect handheld experience which means that you can just turn your DS on whenever you want, play for a while and then shut it off. There is nothing like the player will get "out of sync" after not having played the game for a long time (Aka, ouendan etc) as there is basically no concept of memorisation used in the levels, and the gameplay itself is simple.The songs themselves this time are very different and nice, but the remixes do not impress much, when compared to the ones in the GBA game. They are good, but not as good as they could have been.

* Is it Freaky?

These minigames are the heart of the game. Each one is unique in its own freaky way. Games where you make frogs swing their hips or make a guy eat eggs, all while responding to beats in a rhythm, are some of the game's defining moments. You will have to see it to understand how and why these are the main selling point of the game.

To pass a game you will have to get most of the hits/slides correctly. There are two ranks given for passing, you either JUST pass,which is indicated by a silver/ash outline on the game's selection box, or you do very good and get a gold outline. As soon as you pass, the next game is unlocked. If you fail, the next level is not unlocked and you will have to retry till you pass.

There is a small feature in the game which allows people to bypass this in case you are failing repeatedly in one game (~5+ times continuously). When that happens, the kettle icon on the right-end of the line with the "move" icon starts boiling and upon pressing that, you can select to unlock the next level. Once 4 games from a level are completed the 5th game is unlocked which is a remix using all the previous games of the level. Once this is completed the next level is unlocked.

* Import friendliness and worth.

Apart from the 50 levels that that you play to get the "end credits" (which again is a minigame in itself) you have loads of extra games. These levels feel more like an integral part of the complete experience one can spend a great deal of time just playing these unlockable games. They are unlocked when you get a "gold" for the levels you play. These games range from things like flipping coins to punching those "hit me nots" toys, all to the rhythm, making nice music as you do it. These are very addictive and add a lot to the whole value of the game. Makes all those golds you get in the games really feel "worth it"

50 levels each with around 2 minutes of gameplay might make it sound like a short game. But the mini-games are just so good that, no matter who you are, you will find yourself replaying some of them, just for fun. Also, its not like every level can be crossed at first try. It takes a few tries to understand the music and play accordingly. All these factors, along with the infinitely long long extras that you unlock by playing game, add a lot to the replay value of the game.

The game is very import friendly

The game being Japanese only for the time being means that importing is the only way to get it. But how import friendly is it? Well, lucky for all of us, the game is very import friendly. It will only take a few minutes to figure out what is happening and which buttons is the "ok" or "cancel" button. The meaning of all the extra options in the menu can also be found out by trial and error method. There are usually images on the other screen which give a basic idea on what it is.

*In Conclusion

The game's very import friendliness, great replay value, catchy music, easy gameplay and "handheld" structure really make it a must have for anyone who is looking for something fresh and entertaining for their DS. This will keep you busy for 10s of hours and will you want to get back to it even after months of playing it. All in all, it is something that every DS owner should atleast try out. The game has already sold over a million copies in japan, that sure speaks volumes of its appeal.

Lets end this review with another nice video

For Hi-Res pictures : checkout the album.
For more Gameplay Videos : checkout my youtube playlist (all videos created by me)

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Anonymous said...

Great review! It's really an awesome game and very very fun indeed (:

Damien Daniels said...

Great share thanks for writing this

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