captainlunchbox's Rhythm Tengoku (Game Boy Advance) review

A Great Game That Acutally Tests Your Rhythm.

A simple, addictive and fun rhythm game that anyone can pick up, play, and enjoy.
 
The premise:
A pure rhythm game that lacks any sort of "freeway of notes" and forces the player to rely on their own natural sense of rhythm. 
The predecessor to Rhythm Tengoku Gold (released in the U.S. as "Rhythm Heaven") this is a rhythm game that both deserves and demands your undivided attention. Rhythm Tengoku is an example of superior game design, blending simplicity, challenge and addictive gameplay into games that last mere minutes but can be played for much longer.
 
First impressions:
The player is first tasked with a few simple rhythm tests after the start menu. This game is Japanese and as such, should be played with an FAQ or walkthrough if you're not fluent, but reliance on said materials is minimal. Lots of charming sights and sounds really draw the player in.
 
Set-up:
The game consists of 40 rhythm games in 5 different columns. At the end of each set of stages is a sort of "mega-mix" combining all of the mini-games into ones song. You can either fail, pass, or get an "excellent" rating that awards you with a medal. Certain stages challenge the player to play and get a perfect score.
 
How it works:
Each stage challenges the player to press and/or hold buttons in sequence with the songs and on-screen events. The concepts are usually simple enough and, more often than not, demonstrated for the player. This means you usually won't need to look at a walkthrough and if you do, it's usually just a  brief glance.
 

 
The Graphics:
A great example of artistic vs. technical. The art is usually simple and crude, but charming and fitting. I've laughed and even just found myself smiling at some of the visuals in this game. Also there are some really original characters and worlds seen here and you get a sense that there's even some sort of back-story to some of this stuff.
 
The SOUNDS (OMG):
 I try to write my reviews on the objective side when I can, but I love these songs. There are some really catchy ones that I even found myself singing and humming long after I set the game down. Each song perfectly fits each visual style for each stage. If you've had a bad day for any reason, I recommend popping this game in and lending your ears. Great stuff.
 
The Gameplay:
Controls are very tight and your timing has to be perfect or you'll miss- but isn't that the essence of it? Though challenging, you'll find it to be fun and totally engaging. It forces you to improve your own sense of rhythm and be a better player. Great design here as well.
 
The Story:
A large, overarching  story would be pointless in a game like this- but you can definitely find stories told within the stages themselves. A ninja fighting for the life of his master by literally slicing arrows out of midair, a bunny jumping on the backs of sea creatures in an attempt to get to the moon, a samurai ridding his castle of ghosts, and many more can be found here.
 
Conclusion:
I fell in love with this game within minutes. It's an import, but that will not stop you from enjoying this. Import it.

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