What do you get when you combine Wario Ware and music games? A stunning minigame collection filled with catchy tunes, interesting rhythms and loads of cool bonuses.
2009 is clearly the year of quirky odd-ball games. Despite its unorthodox idea, Flower seems to be the normal one of the bunch. Noby Noby Boy still holds the top spot for weirdness, but Rhythm Paradise is working hard to make it to the top of the list. A dog ninja, a dumpling-eating monk, a singing Moai statue, dancing frogs, a guirro lizard playing its own back... the character roster is original to say the least.
Rhythm Paradise has a lot in common with the Wario Ware series. The game consists of mini games that put your sense of rhythm and quickness with the stylus to the test. After every four mini games your previous knowledge is put to the test with a remix level combining the preceding mini games.
Graphically, Rhythm Paradise is very stylized and simple. On the musical side things are more accomplished, and the tunes are very catchy. I caught myself humming to the tune of the Fan Club mini game while shopping for groceries. Since music is an integral part of any rhythm-based game, it's fortunate that Rhythm Paradise has what it takes.
Rhythm Paradise has two different means of control: tapping the touch-sensitive screen and flicking the stylus. Most of the time the tapping could be replaced by a push of a button. The flicking requires the touch screen, although the fidelity of flick recognition could be better. The game doesn't seem to register especially faster flicks, which leads to failure and frustration.
The learning curve starts off nice and slow, but towards the end of the game the going gets a lot steeper. You can pass the first few mini games with half-hearted attempts, but the latter games are a whole different thing. One single mistake can drop your grade to "Just OK", and in some cases two slip-ups will send you packing and retrying. Fortunately the game offers you a chance to bypass a tough mini game after several failed attempts, so you'll never get too stuck.
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The best part of Rhythm Paradise are by far the remix levels. The hectic action and changing mini games force you to stay awake, and the rapid fluctuation of mini games makes the game a lot more interesting. Rhythm Paradise puts your sense of rhythm to the test throughout the whole game.
There are 24 different mini games that are reused and combined throughout a total of 50 levels. After passing a level you can try to ace it for a medal. Collecting medals earns you a multitude of rhythm toys, endless mini games and a couple really cool extra levels.
From time to time you're offered a chance to achieve perfection on a level you've already earned a medal from. If you can manage a perfect performance (you get 3 tries), you'll be rewarded with some bonus reading or listening.
Rhythm Paradise is the perfect handheld game for commuting or other short play sessions. The mini games last for around a minute each, and there's a ton of things to do, especially if you're a perfectionist. If you can't hold a beat, this game isn't for you, unless you're some kind of masochist. For music lovers, on the other hand, Rhythm Paradise offers tons of awesome entertainment.
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8 / 10
Wacky minigames, awesome music, loads to play, great bonus items
At times imprecise controls, a steep difficulty curve towards the end