Wubadubaduba is That True?

The other game you probably missed this week while playing the Mass Effect 3 demo was Rhythm Heaven Fever for the Wii.  Yes, a reason to turn on your Wii.  Honestly, I’m kind of surprised at how light it feels for a console game, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most fun games of Q1 2012.

I loved the DS version so I didn’t really need much convincing to go ahead and get this, and Fever isn’t very different.  What miffed me at first was that Fever uses no motion controls.  When I first heard about this game I had visions of parties swinging around my room like those Japanese girls in WarioWare Smooth Moves commercials (Is that a good game?  Still haven’t played it).  Nope, the game uses literally two buttons and feels about as weighty as its handheld predecessors – same price too.  Technically speaking, Fever is basically the GBA game blown up to 640 x 480 pixels.  That doesn’t make it less fun though.  It’s just proof that a good game is a good game regardless of platform.

If you haven’t played Rhythm Heaven, Fever feels like every single inch of it has been gamified.  Even if it’s just a collection of music mini games and this edition is simply an update, they’re still stupidly fun and shockingly intuitive in their simplicity.

Here’s what I’m talking about: each game will start you out with a short tutorial, and afterwards you might be making it through the song just fine or barely holding on, but then they’ll throw you something that wasn’t in the tutorial, and somehow you just get it.  I don’t know if that has something to do with the intuitive nature of music, but I can tell you it feels a lot more accessible than these other console games flashing hints all over the screen.  I mean, these high definition AAA games rarely if ever get a genuine stupid smile to streak across my face like Fever has.

The unlockable features like music, mini-mini games (nano games?), and achievement-based extras all exude a sort of elegance in the design.  The clean, playful art style of the handheld games like the way it presents everything  through the image of a café, translates very well to the console space, even blown up on an HDTV.

Some of the harder mini games might pose a brick wall for a while depending on the player, and if you talk about it online you’ll get some weeaboos whining about how the Japanese voices are better.  Those are pretty much the only nitpicks I can see in what has given me some of the most simplistic fun I’ve gotten from a retail console game in years.

If you really think about it the economics of the whole package are a bit out of whack with the entire rest of the market today.  On any other console this might have been a downloadable game for $15 instead of $30.  Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if some kid wondered why this wasn’t an iPhone game.  Well, whatever.  Stuff like Rayman Origins is able to make a profit even with abysmal sales, which just let’s you know there’s some hope left in retail console gaming.


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