Rhythm Heaven is back and, this time, on the Wii!  Rhythm Heaven Fever features a ton of crazy rhythm games, multiplayer and a bunch of extras.  When I say crazy, I mean Rhythm Heaven Fever is really wacky with its cast of ridiculous characters and truly unimaginable situations it puts the player in.

The goal in Rhythm Heaven Fever is to clear each of the game’s 50 main stages.  Each level presents a crazy story or situation that will go along with accompanying music that lasts about 1.5 to 3 minutes each.  Stage examples include stabbing peas with a fork, a samurai hacking ghosts, dancing shrimp, building robots and the now famous Rhythm Heaven Fever wrestler interview to just name a few.  I found myself loving the wackiness and insane characters immediately, and it’s truly awesome.

Almost every stage is it’s own game, and thus, many start out with a short tutorial on how to play.  Playing is quite simple, as each level only makes use of the A button or the A and B buttons simultaneously.  When playing, it is important for the player to perform the newly learned actions in time with the music, as the game provides both audio and visual cues on what to do and when.  While this may sound simple, it can actually be quite challenging as the rhythm changes depending on the stage.  If a player messes up, the in game graphics can sometimes result in hilarious effects.

The music in Rhythm Heaven Fever is, for the most part, catchy, even though there were some stages that had music I wasn’t fond of.  With that said, I can easily see how certain stages and music that I didn’t like could be another person’s favorite based on musical preference.

After the stage ends, the game will rank the player’s performance with either Try Again, OK, or Superb.  Try Again won’t allow the player to progress to the next stage, so it’s necessary to get either OK or Superb rankings to move on.  However, if the player only misses the beat a few times, he or she will earn a Superb rating and then be awarded with a medal for that stage.  Medals are used to unlock extras (more on that later).

Every fifth level is a Remix stage that combines the previous four stages into a musical mishmash.  So, in a sense, the levels leading up to a Remix stage are really training for the more difficult challenge.

After the first 35 stages are cleared, it’s possible to keep playing the remaining 15, all of which ramp up the difficulty.  These new levels are all sequels to some of the previous ones in the game, featuring new or remixed music to go along with the old game rules.  Remix stages in these final levels also can pull games from anything previously played, adding a fair challenge.

The main game in Rhythm Heaven Fever is extremely addictive, and I found myself not wanting to progress until I earned myself a medal in each stage, which I eventually accomplished.  What makes this game so great is the fact that, while at times difficult, it rarely feels unfair, and players will likely be telling themselves they could do better with just one more try.

The only negative I could really find while playing the main game is that it’s too short.  Those that are uninterested in getting Superb rankings on each stage will probably breeze through the game in a few hours. Wven if someone is trying to get those rankings, the time it takes to get them will vary greatly depending on the skill of the individual player.

To help remedy this situation, players can go for Perfects on every stage.  This, however, is where one of the biggest flaws in the game lies.  It’s only possible to obtain a Perfect ranking on a stage when the game says it’s time.  So, randomly at times between levels, Rhythm Heaven Fever will inform the player that they can go for a perfect on a specific stage.  This chance for a Perfect will only be available for three turns before disappearing, only to make a return randomly.

What sucks about this the most, is that if the player were to play a level perfectly when the stage isn’t eligible for a Perfect, it won’t count.  Getting Perfects unlocks bonuses in the game like individual music tracks and fun short stories or conversations about the characters.  Sadly, due to extreme difficulty and random availability, I found myself not caring much because it was just too annoying to attempt.  Only the most hardcore fans will likely put up with this horrible Perfect system.

As previously mentioned, though, going for medals by getting a Superb in stages also unlocks things.  Medals can unlock Rhythm Toys, Endless Games, Extra Games and a Two Player Mode.

The Toys are fun diversions that mostly ask players to complete a short rhythm challenge or are just games for fun.  There is a two-player Rhythm Fighter game that is fun to play against a friend, but isn’t anything too exciting.  The Rhythm Toys are all right but I honestly can’t see many players spending much time with them.

Endless games are a bunch of various rhythm games that go on endlessly until an error, or series of errors, takes place.  The goal in Endless games is to go for a high score.  Some of these games are pretty enjoyable, but again, players will likely not spend much tume with them unless they have friends to compete against.

The Extra Games are a few bonus stages that play similarly to the main game, but do not award medals upon completion.  These felt like, for the most part, some games that didn’t make the cut. They are fun, and I found myself still striving to achieve Superb rankings on them even though they didn’t awards medals.

Finally, the Two-Player mode allows two players to play eight select stages from the main game.  These levels include the same music as in the single player experience, but at times, the music may switch to only allow one player to handle specific parts of the song.  This mode is both competitive and cooperative at the same time.  At the end of each stage, both players will be given a score (1-100) so they know who preformed better.  At the same time, the game will combine these scores to see if the team preformed well enough to earn Duo Medals.

Duo Medals unlock some Endless Games that require two people.  The games are different than the Endless Games in the single player mode.  While many of these are fun, I don’t think that they will be getting much playtime compared the regular two-player experience.

Unfortunately, the two-player experience in Rhythm Heaven Fever is also too short and has, as mentioned, only eight levels.  A longer version would have been nice, since I had a blast playing this mode with my sister, and we worked hard to achieve all the Duo Medals in the game.  We both wish there were more.

Overall, Rhythm Heaven Fever is a really fun, quirky, and addictive game. Because it was so enjoyable, it left me wanting more stages, both single player and multiplayer.  With so few quality games out for the Wii in the last year, owners of Nintendo’s little white box would be doing themselves a favor in picking up this $30.00 budget title. Even though it’s short and the Perfect system needs work, it’s still a blast to play.  Even now I want to go back and just play some levels for fun!

Here’s the Rundown:

+ Crazy Levels and Characters
+ Fun and Highly Addictive
+ Solid Replay Value For Those Looking For Superb and Perfect Scores

– The Main Single and Multiplayer modes should have been longer.
– The Perfect System Is Flawed
– Mini Games Probably Won’t Get Much Playtime

9 and 9.5 represent the pinnacle of the genre, a game that defines what that genre should be about. These scores are for games that you not only feel would be worth your purchase, but you would actually try to convince your friends to buy them as well.

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Rhythm Heaven Fever was developed by Nintendo SPD Group No.1 and TNX and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Wii.  The game was released in North America on February 13, 2012 with an MSRP of $29.99.  The copy used in this review was provided by the publisher.