Life is full of repetitive little tasks that you can carry out with a pattern of movement. So why not make a rhythm-based game out of it? That said, plucking hairs out of an onion with a face on it, playing badminton in a plane, and being a frog’s backup dancer aren’t exactly normal day-to-day activities, but you get the idea.
Rhythm Paradise Megamix has you follow the adventures of Tibby, a pink dog-like creature with an afro. Poor Tibby has ended up far away from his Heaven World home and needs your help to get back. As you start the game, the intro even admits to it not being a “serious” story. But it’s a nice way to unlock games as you progress through. Along the way back to Heaven World you’ll meet characters like Boondog the Beehound, who need your help. There will be four rhythm games to then complete, before allowing you to move on.
Generally speaking, the rhythm games are fairly basic and short. But one thing they all share is they are completely bizarre. As you start rhythm game for the first time you are given a short tutorial of the controls you will need to play the game. Rarely is this more than just the A button. Most of the tutorials are explained very well to help you understand the game you are about to play, but should you struggle, after a few failed attempts you will see a helpful guide on the bottom screen that should help you get your head around the timing of the button presses.
After the tutorial, you’re left to play the game which is usually very short. The goal is to keep up with the rhythm of the game you are playing while trying not to miss any beats. Once per game a star will appear on the bottom screen, hitting the beat in time with this star will reward you with more points. At the end of the game, the better you do the more points you will receive. Failing the level will mean you need to play again, an OK or Superb will see you pass and move on.
As you finish a level you will also be rewarded with coins. The better you do, the more coins you get. Coins can be used for a variety of things. Occasionally as you progress through the game you will meet three individuals that all have the same game to play but with various difficulties. You need to pay coins to play these games, you need to complete it, and only then can you continue. You’ll need to pay more coins for an easier version of the game, and the hardest game requires fewer coins. If you are really struggling with a rhythm game, you may get an option to pay coins to allow you to skip it so that you can move on. There are also many items to spend your coins on in the café area.
This is a place where all the characters you’ve met on your journey come to relax. It’s also home to the museum, a shop, StreetPass settings, and a goat. Yes, a goat. The museum documents all the rhythm games that you have played so far and lets you play them whenever you wish without having to dig through the story mode to find them again. The shop sells Rhythm Items which sadly isn’t as helpful as it sounds. They are only items that you have seen in the rhythm games such as a badminton racket, onion skin, and baton to name a few. The only purpose of these is then to add to the museum option for that game.
If there is a certain track from a game you just adore, you can also buy the music to listen to without having to play through the rhythm game. But most importantly is the option to buy more rhythm games here that can not be found during the usual story mode. As for the goat, you can play a ‘pachinko’ like mini-game to feed it turnips. The better you do, you will level up and the difficulty increases. After every 10 levels, you can unlock a mascot that appears on the loading screen, which is just sadly a cosmetic reward and adds nothing more interesting. Finally for the fans of the original audio, within the settings menu you can change the language to Japanese, and change to stylus control (as seen in the previous Rhythm Heaven DS title) if you find that more comfortable to play by.
In addition to the story mode is the Challenge area. Every so often through the game, you are prompted to go to the Challenge area to see if you can get a ‘perfect’ score on a randomly chosen game. You can also visit the Challenge train (either solo or with friends via download play). Completing a series of challenges (which you have to pay coins to attempt) will reward you with a Flow Ball. Flow Balls are very important as they are needed to purchase more games from the shop within the café.
With over 100 games in total including returning games, updated versions, and new games, Rhythm Paradise Megamix is a perfect starting point if you’re new to the series. However, older fans of the series may feel slightly disappointed with the lack of new content. While the story mode is a nice addition as a way to unlock the games, it’s fairly short and basic. After the story mode is finished there is not much more on offer but to ‘grind’ your way through games getting perfect scores to gain coins, to buy souvenirs in the shop that do nothing but sit in the museum. The coins will buy chances on the challenges which you can get Flow Balls to buy more games in the shop, but there’s not that many to buy. Rhythm Paradise Megamix is a fun game in small doses, sometimes frustratingly addictive, but for some the beat might slow down quite quickly.
Rhythm Paradise Megamix is a fun pick-up-and-play title that will have you humming the tracks long after you have finished playing. But unless you’re willing to go back and get high scores for every game, it doesn’t offer much more.