Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise (Wii) Review
I think there’s been about four times this year where I’ve called a game the Wii’s final great game, but Nintendo manage to continually surprise me – putting out some rather enjoyable experiences in a market which is arguably less than stable right now. Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise is one of those games. It surprised me, it’s enjoyable, and it’s somewhat unique though it’s definitely not a title that people will rush out and buy a console for (and quite frankly, why would you). One has to highlight the irony/coincidence that a mini-compilation may be one of the last games for the Wii.
For those not in the know, Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise is actually a Rhythm Heaven game, seemingly (and perplexingly) retitled for its localised release. The premise is simple – it’s a musical rhythm name that requires players to complete mini-games.
All these games are based on music and require the player to have a good sense of rhythm (who’d have thought) in order to proceed. There’s not really a good amount of story to tie everything together (it’s rather hectic and hardly ever makes sense) but the game itself is fun, which is all that matters.
The first thing you’ll notice with Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise is that it’s a very colourful, very strange looking game that boasts some fantastic animation. While this is true, there are times when I felt that this kind of artistic direction was somewhat unique and yet quite dated. It’s nothing ground-breaking nor is it anything that we haven’t seen before. The characters themselves are drawn magnificently – being given facial expressions and animations that make them some of the cutest things you’ve ever seen. In short, the games graphics are over the top and simple, but nothing we haven’t seen before in games like WarioWare, for example. Still, it looks nice enough and is functional, and serves the crazy over-the-top nature of the game well.
This is of course brought together with a very eclectic soundtrack with the occasional (annoying) earworm thrown in for good measure. You’ll hear some parts of electronica, some parts of old school jazz music, with the odd bit of j-Pop styling thrown in for good measure. The music is, as you would expect from this kind of game, top-notch. The sound effects used throughout the game are strange, but functional and the nature of the music and its boppiness (if you know what I mean) really helps the player get into the groove and synchronise their internal clock with the game’s one.
Beat the Beat is quite unique (somewhat) in that it doesn’t utilise motion controls that have made the Wii so famous – instead the A button is tapped with occasional squeezing of the B trigger too. It’s very simple, yet ingenious. You would be surprised to find that these simplistic control schemes provide a notable challenge. The main gist of the game is to match the rhythm with your inputs. The mini-games themselves are really short, drawing comparisons to games in the WarioWare franchise. This makes it perfect for those pick up and play sessions, and makes it easy to introduce friends to the game and let them play without them getting too tiring. The mini-games are, of course, based on some crazy and strange ideas. One minute I was throwing monkeys at things, another I was spinning chairs in a boardroom (with pigs on them) while another saw me cheering up an emo kid with basket balls which slowly turned into an entire ordeal involving rainbows, ferrets, ninjas and female emo companions.
The mini-games, while short, are quite simple though many may have problems completing them and moving on due to the three try limit imposed on the player. The game also purposely tries to outwit the player by throwing off-tune beats, cross faded tracks and other small gimmicky elements to force the player to rely on their internal “rhythm” rather than just watching the screen itself. I like this element of the gameplay, as that’s really how they’re meant to be played.
The game’s difficulty is partially remedied by (skippable) tutorials though the biggest annoyance is that with failure, the process to get back into the game is a bit cumbersome and is rather jarring on the fast paced nature of the game. There are gameplay mechanics (just as bizarre as everything else here) that allows players to skip levels, but most players would probably find more satisfaction in completing them properly.
Multiplayer elements are quite disappointing however, as you won’t have access to all mini-games and it feels like the overall effort has been really downgraded for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom. It just feels incredibly bare bones.
With regards to the overall value of the package, Beat the Beat is a bit of a mixed bag. It would only be worth whatever you are willing to get out of it. There are 50 mini-games provided to the player all up, with “toys”, songs and remix stages being unlockable. Remix stages mix up the action and provide a very difficult challenge to the players who really want it. The biggest problem here is that the game itself just doesn’t have much longevity once you’ve done all the games – unless you have this kind of self-serving desire to beat your own high scores for your own personal internal peace….or something.
Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise is a great rhythm game that provides a rather solid experience, though many may forgo it as another boring mini-game compilation. It is actually anything but; combining elements of previous Rhythm Heaven games with a simplistic control scheme, Beat the Beat is a great game that most solo players can find great solace in. A disappointing multiplayer offering really lets this one down, though, and it’s a real shame it’s not more fleshed out. A great game, though I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to wait for a price drop. It’s good, but it’s a teensy tiny bit over priced for what it is. If you love rhythm games, grab this without hesitation. It’s great. If you like WarioWare – you’ll probably enjoy this but remember that you’ll need to have a good sense of rhythm to progress further. Essentially – your mileage may vary.