With all of the hullabaloo surrounding the Nintendo Switch reveal, it’s easy to forget that there are still games being released for the current crop of Nintendo hardware. With Paper Mario: Color Splash proving a rare but much needed success on Wii U, Rhythm Paradise Megamix has been somewhat snuck out on the admittedly better supported, 3DS, and while it is unlikely to steal any attention away from the excitement building around Nintendo’s latest foray into the hardware market, it is a fantastic game in its own right and yet another reminder of the impressive levels of diversity found amidst the 3DS’ increasingly spectacular library of games.
Despite the ability to play games on the go, it’s still not clear if the Nintendo Switch will completely replace Nintendo’s traditionally separate handheld business, but whatever the case, and whatever the future holds for Nintendo, we can only hope that they will continue to deliver games as brilliantly bonkers as this.
Rhythm Paradise Megamix might sound like a budget title (I’m sure there is a good reason why it has different names in both the US and Japan – Rhythm Heaven and Rhythm Tengoku respectively), but I can assure you, this is about as far as you can get from a budget product. The visuals might be simplistic and the premise and gameplay is certainly straightforward, but in its own way, Rhythm Paradise represents Nintendo at its imaginative best.
Made by the same team who develop the equally insane, WarioWare titles, Rhythm Heaven is imbued with that same sense of irreverent charm that makes the games’ 100+ stages a consistently bewildering treat. The gameplay never goes beyond tapping the A and B buttons with the occasional D-pad input included for good measure, but despite the simplicity of the control scheme and the commitment to basic musical cues, Rhythm Heaven proves an outrageously addictive and unbelievably likeable experience.
Yes, of the 100 or so stages, 70 are taken from previous games, but honestly, how many people will have played them? The last game was snuck onto store shelves long after the Wii had been relegated to dusty cupboards all over the world, and the first game, well that Gameboy Advance classic was never released in UK at all. It’s a shame that the new stages aren’t as consistently fantastic as those taken from previous releases, but with so many to choose from and with each stage over in relatively quick time, the rare miss is soon forgotten thanks to long stretches of genuinely barmy brilliance.
While some will begrudge a move to a more traditional format, I for one welcome the inclusion of a single player story. The story itself is unsurprisingly insane, but it is surprisingly well written, and along with the stages themselves, highlight the games’ abundance of imagination. Most importantly however, the story mode frames the experience and gives you a reason to play each stage in some sort of predefined order. Again, purists might scoff at the idea of such an unorthodox game being ‘tamed’, but trust me, this game is still fantastically off its rocker, and even the occasional concession to the series’ notoriously tricky challenges (a timing indicator is now added if you’re having a shocker) can’t dilute Rhythm Paradise’s unrelenting wackiness.
With local multiplayer, an array of additional challenges and tons of unlockables rounding off an impressively robust package, Rhythm Paradise Megamix is nothing if not content rich. Sure, at its core, the gameplay never really changes, but when its framed in such an imaginative and downright unique way, it’s hard to be overly critical of its simplistic but perfectly applied mechanics.
It might have a terrible name, but that’s about the only thing that isn’t utterly fantastic about Nintendo’s wonderfully silly collection of rhythm-based challenges. With imagination and downright madness in equal measures, this is one of Nintendo’s most unique outings and a great reminder that the 3DS still has plenty of life left in it. It’s a shame that there isn’t more in the way of new challenges, and yes, the new content that is here is arguably the weakest aspect of the game, but despite these most minor of complaints, Rhythm Paradise Megamix remains an exceptional return to an often overlooked but consistently brilliant series.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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