A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a game that will frustrate those who aren't blessed with rhythm, very precise rhythm. That's most of us.The game is being promoted by Beyonce in a TV commercial.
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What's it about?
Nintendo has made some wonderful and laugh-out-loud funny minigame offerings for the DS, but this isn't one of them. In Rhythm Heaven, you climb the ladder to sheer heights of rhythm stardom by completing over 50 short, music-based little games, all of which are challenging, to say the least.
Playing the game is so simple a five year old could work the mechanics with ease. As you hold the DS vertically like a book, all you have do is tap the touch screen with your stylus in rhythm to the music or voices. Sometimes, you have to keep your stylus on the screen and flick it to put something together or to hit something. Immediately when the game begins, you're also asked if you're right or left handed, a very handy tool because you're about to play the most rhythmically precise and difficult game of your life.
Is it any good?
There's no reason to beat around the bush. While Rhythm Heaven has a charming minimalist art style, it's a royal pain to get exactly right, even with practice, even in the first levels. You might say, well, this is not a game for the rhythmically challenged. But it may not even be a game for those who are schooled in dance or in rhythm instruments like bass or drums.
You have to be so achingly accurate in the game, you'll rarely get the medals that are achievements for getting high scores. Plus, when you're off rhythm, your cohorts onscreen shoot you a dirty look. While this is at first hilarious, it begins to grate on you because the game is so difficult. Plus, content is locked until you pass a certain level of accuracy, which for some can be a game-stopping road block. If Nintendo had just provided modes like easy, hard, and superhard, Rhythm Heaven would have been a lot easier to like. As it stands, it's nearly a failure.
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