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Rhythm Tengoku (Game Boy Advance) artwork

Rhythm Tengoku (Game Boy Advance) review

"Rhythm Tengoku was the first game I ever imported from Japan. "

Rhythm Tengoku was the first game I ever imported from Japan.

What a waste of money.

To say that the game is a blend of WarioWare and the rhythm genre is a fairly accurate description. Packed with typical wacky visuals and Japanese charm, each mini-game (lasting a minute or so) has you timing button presses in time with the beat – a concept seen in pretty much every rhythm game. But instead of having DDR's arrows or Guitar Hero's circular notes as visual aids, you must pay attention to what's happening on-screen. In one mini-game, you're hitting baseballs syncopated to the background music, while in another, you're doing the same, but slicing incoming arrows with a ninja sword instead.

Progressing through Rhythm Tengoku is remarkably straightforward, as it implements a basic column system. Clear the first five mini-games and you unlock a remix, a combination of them played over one song. Clear the remix and you unlock the next column. It's so easy to pick up and play that the language barrier is barely a problem. Sure, the instructions are in Japanese, but you can get away with a little bit of trial and error. It doesn't take long to figure out how to swing your bat.

But that's also its downfall – it's too simple.

Though at first glance the mini-games look different from one another, many of them are practically identical. Plucking hairs off onion faces, shooting arrows at ghosts, and swinging your baseball bat – all supposedly different mini-games – can all be achieved by pressing the A button. The only difference is the timing. Hitting baseballs is more upbeat than the other two, which means you get to hit the A button more times!

What's baffling is how the developers don't seem to properly realise that another seven buttons exist on the GBA. Though the D-pad is occasionally used, you're never asked to use the shoulder buttons, and the B button is used in only four of the forty mini-games. For that reason, the game never gets challenging and is a breeze to finish.

Just when you think it can't possibly get any duller, a little over the halfway point, the mini-games repeat themselves – as in, they're actually identical, save for the slight increase in difficulty. This means you get to pluck, shoot, and swing with the A button all over again, but in time with a more bizarre beat! Paying for forty-eight mostly short mini-games isn't great value at all, but for thirty, it's a plain rip-off.

Only the remixes are the game's saving grace. They require you to keep on your toes; one second you're clapping as part of a trio of cats, the next, you're marching with three other mannequin soldiers. The changes in rhythm throughout breaks up the monotomy and are fun to play a few times. They also have the privilege of being the only mini-games to have a proper J-pop song pumping in the background. Obviously, if you're looking for Japanese music, you're better off getting Ouendan.

Really, there are barely any reasons to import Rhythm Tengoku. Unless you fancy giving the A button a workout, there's nothing inspiring to see here. Rhythm Tengoku is a waste of money, and that's all that needs to be said.

Rating: 4/10

hobunn's avatar
Community review by hobunn (August 29, 2007)

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