Imagine if real life was similar to what’s found in the Rhythm Heaven universe. You and a friend could always find fresh fruit bouncing down the stairs. Entertainment would be freely available via clapping lion cub trios, sporting fluffy red wigs or open crown cowboy hats. And you could air surf like a stylish pro while listening to J-pop music. Such is the world of Rhythm Heaven Megamix, where “the only problems you can solve with violence are rhythm problems.”
The Rhythm Heaven series of titles are built around inputs timed to catchy music. In this Megamix collection you get to experience games from past entries, including the GBA debut which was limited to Japan. There’s also plenty of fresh remixes and new games. The story mode has you guiding a young character named Tibby home, and meeting a quirky cast of characters along the way.
The story mode is divided into chapters, with credits rolling after each – think Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker. So don’t lunge for the power button thinking that you’ve beat the game quickly, as there’s much content to be found here. With three save files, family and friends can share in the fun experience.
Once you clear levels in story mode, you can tackle them individually to improve your high scores. High scores really mean something in this collection. While you can advance with an “OK”, going for a “Superb” or even a “Perfect Campaign” is a real draw. Bonuses come from timing to earn a skill star, not missing a beat, and more. The better you do, the more coins you’ll earn to spend in the shop and unlock music, trinkets, and beyond. Your “Flow” number will also increase, indicating your improved sense of rhythm. It’s rewarding to see your growth.
Besides the 80 + games and variants in the story mode, there’s plenty more to keep you occupied. The multiplayer challenge train lets you and friends cooperatively tackle a series of levels together, and with just one copy of the game! The cafe allows you chat with characters you meet throughout the game. A goat feeding mini-game (similar to Miitomo Drop) lets you to earn more coins for the shop – coins can also be used to bypass a level if you fail too many times. There’s even StreetPass functionality.
Rhythm Heaven Megamix has an art design that’s quite charming and very diverse. Its characters will leave positive impressions with you, as will the worlds they inhabit. From pixel art to polygons, still screens to scrolling ones, black and white to full color, and sporting a range of animation styles, the visuals succeed, whether distractingly busy or artistically minimal. The new “visual feedback system” on the touch screen gives indicators to show how early or late you are on inputs, with perfect timing resulting in a rainbowesque firework display of stars. This basic yet very effective use of the touch screen comes in handy on more than a few occasions. Should you prefer not to have it, a disabling option is included.
Being a game based on Rhythm, it should come as little surprise that the music excels here. With such a wide variety of genres given representation, you’re bound to have several favorites – I know I do! I’ve certainly been having a good time earning coins to purchase the tracks and listen to them at my leisure. Expect to find yourself humming or, in the case of songs with lyrics, singing along with these tunes. You can even switch to the original Japanese soundtrack if you like. I definitely recommend playing the game with headphones.
You can control the games using the d-pad and buttons, or the stylus. Even though I mainly use the former, I appreciate the choice. There actually were a couple levels where the stylus did give me a surprising edge to up my score, so don’t be afraid to experiment between the two, and find your preferences.
Simple to start, but tricky to master, Rhythm Heaven Megamix makes for some fun feats of pinpoint timing. While I am let down that physical copies will be limited to Europe (Rhythm Heaven games aren’t strong sellers in North America) you’d be cheating yourself to dismiss Megamix because of that. There’s a lot of addictive and challenging content here. For some this will be an introduction to the Rhythm Heaven universe; others are veterans of the series. No matter though, this highly enjoyable game belongs in your 3DS collection. If you’re still in doubt, why not try the free demo? Don’t be surprised if it makes you want the full package.FIND YOUR FLOW AND TAKE ON THE GREATEST HITS FROM RHYTHM HEAVEN!