Beat The Beat: Rhythm Paradise
Lockstep. Rhythm Rally. Moai Doo-Wop. If any of those names fills you with a slight sense of dread, it’s likely that you played Rhythm Paradise on the DS, the addictive but fiendishly difficult rhythm game with a difference, which came out in 2009. Beat The Beat: Rhythm Paradise is its recently-released successor, this time on Wii, which fans will be happy to know is just as addictive – and also just as tough!
What sets the Rhythm Paradise games apart from so many other music titles is that rather than just pressing a button when a scrolling circle reaches a certain point on the screen, your input is related to a bizarre animation that’s playing in time with the music. Take the first minigame you’ll encounter, for example: Hole In One. As the name suggests, you press A to swing a golf club, sending balls flying into a hole on a far off island. What makes Beat The Beat so great though, is that the balls are being tossed at you by a cute little monkey to the beat of the background music, and you have to watch and listen carefully to know which beats you’re expected to swing the club with. If you think that’s easy, bear in mind you also have to watch out for the occasional giant ball spat out by a nearby mandrill, to a slightly different rhythm.
Hole in One is the perfect example of one of the many ‘keep the beat’ minigames offered by Beat The Beat. Others, such as Working Dough, task you with echoing an increasingly complicated set of rhythms, Simon-says style, whilst there are also games where you’re part of a crowd of cheerleaders or pigs on spinning office chairs, and you have to patiently wait your turn to tap the A button on the correct beat. Fortunately, the controls are very simple, requiring either a tap of A or A and B together.
As much as we love crazy scenarios offered up in Beat The Beat, it’s fair to say that there will come a point that pretty much all players will get rather frustrated with it, and where that point is will depend on their familiarity with the series as well as their innate musical ability. Perhaps it’ll be when they just can’t figure out what rhythm they’re supposed to tap to keep a group of shrimps shuffling along the beach. Maybe they’ll find the remix stages, in which scenarios from previous minigames are combined, too much to handle. (Personally, these are our favourite parts.) Or possibly, like us, they’ll get annoyed at how strict the game is when it asks you to ‘Go for a Perfect’. This is a particular bugbear for us because, even if you manage to get through a song without making any mistakes, it only registers as having been perfected if it’s challenged you to do so – a peculiar design decision no doubt included to add an even higher level of tension.
Despite its faults, though, we can’t help but love Beat The Beat. It’s the kind of colourful, crazy title that could only come out of Japan, and one that will keep you coming back for ‘just one more go’ until you know you’ve done your very best. Its two-player mode may be fairly half-baked, and its soundtrack may not be quite as catchy as the DS version, but for Wii owners looking for one last reason to break out the remotes before this Winter’s Wii U launch, we’d certainly recommend it.