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Rhythm Heaven Megamix
by SquareMEal
Reviewed on Wed, 08/03/2016 - 17:26pm
SquareMEal Total Reviews: 5
Reviewer Rating
Megamix is great fun, especially if you've not played the series before, but brings little for long time fans.
Rhythm Heaven Megamix for the 3DS is the latest entry to Nintendo's unique rhythm game series. Though not as recognizable a brand as Mario or Zelda, Rhythm Heaven has a similar charm and approachable design that's common in Nintendo games. Megamix, the fourth entry in the series, is as its name implies, a large mixture of Rhythm Heaven games. If you're unfamiliar with how Rhythm Heaven works, you simply try and complete various stages with unique challenges set to catchy music. In one level you'll be playing golf with some monkeys, in another, you'll be a sentient basketball court bouncing rolling fruit into the hoops, and in another, you'll be firing arrows at ghosts trying to sneak past you.

Megamix takes some of the most popular stages from all the previous games and mixes them with a few new ones to make a whole new game. This is great for newcomers to the series or for people who have missed entries in the series, especially since the first game, Rhythm Tengoku, was never international released outside Japan. The downside to this approach is that the more dedicated fans who've kept up with the series will find significantly less fresh material to play with. The game advertises itself as having "100 stages" and though that may very well be true, the catch is that only a small number are wholly unique. Through most of the game, you'll go from level to level, with each level having four stages to it. Typically, the breakdown is that the first stage is from the first game in the series, the second from the second, third from the third, and the fourth being a new stage in the whole series. Couple this with a heavy penchant to reuse some stages with an added mechanic and different music, the claim of 100+ stages, while true on a technical level, is misleading. Still, the idea of reusing stages like this is not new to the series and they are still enjoyable.

Where the biggest changes HAVE come is in the presentation. In previous games, all the stages were spread out on a grid and you'd go through one at a time, unlocking a new stage as you beat older ones. After four stages, you'd then get a "remix" of the previous stages, which is basically just the four mechanics of those stages spliced together with a new song. Now, you'll get a set of four stages in a level. Each level has a theme, though the stages often have little or nothing to do with the theme. You'll still have to go through one at a time, but at certain points, you'll have access to multiple levels at the same time so you can pick and chose which to tackle first. These moments tend to be the harder areas of the game and are the only places "remixes" appear, so it's welcoming to be able to simply come back to a challenging stage without forgoing progress.

Did I mention that the series has traditionally been rather challenging? It's true. With so many stages with different music and challenges, there are inevitably going to be stages that some players will like more than others, and some that will be challenging to the point that some people may put the game down indefinitely because they couldn't progress. Rhythm Heaven Megamix addresses this challenge by making the stages a tad more forgiving and displaying a graphic on the bottom screen of the 3DS to show you how close you were to the proper beat. This is great because it helps you understand if you are hitting too soon/too late and gives a visual to show just how off you were. In addition, they've changed the end stage score screen. Instead of simply getting a "try again," "ok," or "superb," you'll also get a numerical score from 1-100, so if the score is just on the edge of getting the higher rating, you'll have a clearer idea of how your mistakes/inaccuracy actually affect the outcome.

Beyond simply progressing for the sake of playing a fun game, Megamix adds in story. This is a first for the series, albeit the story is rather simple and predictable. A bear like creature named Tibby has fallen from his home in Heaven World and asks you to help guide him back. Each level has a unique character in that that "unlocks" the door to the next area for you when you complete their stages. It's not an unwelcome addition to the series, which was bereft of any sort of underlying progression of any sort in past games, but aside from the quirky humor sometimes bringing a smirk to my face, the cutscenes tended to drag on a bit and slow the pacing of the game.

There are also collectibles and special challenges in the game for people who want reasons to replay the stages. Completing stages will earn you coins, with more coins for better performances and for tackling end game stages. These coins can be used to buy unlockables in the gift shop. These can be CDs with the music tracks of each stage or little items related to stages to give a bit of background to them. What is likely to eat most of your coins, though, are the challenge gates, where a group of men bar you from progressing until you complete their arbitrary challenge. Personally, I found these challenges to be the hardest part of the game. Each man represents a difficulty you can set the challenge at. The hardest difficulty costs the fewest coins, but is very unforgiving. The easiest is forgiving, but takes a lot of coins to accept. If you fail, you'll have to pay the fee to try again. Thankfully, if you fail the challenge several times, they'll take pity and let you pass, allowing you to come back and try when you are ready, without impeding on the rest of the game. There is also a challenge train where you and up to three other friends can complete sets of stages in a row and compete for a high score, and what's more, it supports download play so they don't even need to own the game to play with you! Doing those challenges and completing the rare "Perfect" challenge, which pop up and gives you three shots to complete a stage without a single mistake, will net you flow balls, which can be cashed in for special rhythm stages/games that aren't in the story mode. There's also a pachinko machine type game where you toss onions to a goat to unlock different loading icons. In all, there's plenty of little things to unlock and other challenges to try when you get tired of doing the same stages in story mode.

There's a lot to like about Megamix. From the improved presentation and better rewards for replaying, to the co-op challenge train and the incredible music, there's plenty of stuff to entertain, especially if you haven't played any game in the series before. It's just a shame that there's only 14 or so truly new stages for long time fans to try, especially when the asking price is $30 for a digital only game, at least in the U.S. Still, I would recommend this game to anyone interested in it, regardless of if you've played the series or not.
Positive points
Negative points
  • +Great Soundtrack +Plenty of stuff to unlock +Improved multiplayer +Better feedback to improve your performance
  • -Few original songs -A bit pricey for a digital only game -Story tends to drag
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About this Item
Publisher: Nintendo
Item Link:   Go there
Genre: rhythm game
Release Date: June 11, 2015 (JP); June 15, 2016 (NA)
0 Community Ratings