Rhythm Heaven

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    Rhythm Heaven, known in Japan as Rhythm Tengoku and as Rhythm Paradise in Europe, can best be described as Wario Ware meets Elite Beat Agents. The first game in the series was released on the GBA in late 2006, making it the last game that Nintendo developed for the system. Naturally, this meant that it would be released only in Japan, not unlike the case with Mother 3. Despite this, the DS sequel (known as Rhythm Tengoku Gold in Japan) would receive an overseas release to a positive reception.

    The gameplay is fairly simple. The game is divided into sets of four or five music-based mini-games, which are completed by pressing buttons (or flicking and tapping the touch screen) in time with the rhythm. Upon completion of each mini-game, the player's performance is evaluated and given a ranking: Try Again, OK or Superb. If a player gets a Try Again rating, they can't progress to the next mini-game until they can get one of the higher ratings. A Superb rating awards the player with a medal; collecting these allows bonus features such as endless mini-games to be unlocked. Sometimes the game challenges the player to complete a mini-game flawlessly. Doing so nets a Perfect rating, which unlocks bonus information on the mini-game or adds another song to the sound test. After completing a set of games, the player is challenged to a Remix game that includes each game of the set. Completing the Remix unlocks the next set.

    The mini-games themselves are exactly what one would expect from the team responsible for Wario Ware: quirky, bizarre and generally addictive. Examples include:

    • Hitting baseballs expelled by a flowerpot while floating in space
    • Helping a rabbit jump across whales and turtles to reach the moon
    • Stomping around a garden to pluck beets from the ground
    • Shaking and tossing flasks to create hearts in a laboratory devoted to studying the science of love
    • Controlling a member of a quartet of dancing shrimp
    • Piloting a rocket powered by anthropomorphic tuning forks across a surreal landscape of flowers and pink clouds

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Half Rhythm Game, half Widget Series, Rhythm Heaven is a definite qualifier for one of the best mini-game collections available for the DS.

    On an interesting note, it is one of the few rhythm games to actually be about "rhythm" and not just rapid timing. That is most prominently featured in Lockstep in Heaven, where you'll cruise after you get how to switch from the beat to off-beat, but will be completely impossible if you just try to "muscle" your way through.

    The third iteration Rhythm Heaven Fever, also known in Japan as Minna no Rhythm Tengoku (Everyone's Rhythm Heaven), was released in the States in February 2012.

    Note: For shorthand, we'll be calling the GBA version Tengoku, the DS version Heaven, and the Wii version Fever.

    Tropes used in Rhythm Heaven include:
    • 100% Completion: Good luck getting a Perfect on every game!
    • Alliteration: Rhythm Rally, Blue Birds, Love Lizards, Freeze Frame, Munchy Monk, Drummer Duel, Love Lab, Space Soccer, Beat Bag, Double Date, Figure Fighter, Samurai Slice, Tap Troupe and Shrimp Shuffle.
    • All There in the Manual: Winning the gifts will give you background on the various characters.
    • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Pretty much every animal in the game. Most notably, the Huebirds of Happiness in Flock Step.
    • Amusement Park: Remix 4 in Heaven, and Remix 6 in Fever.
    • Animal Stereotypes: Fever has pigs as businessmen.
    • Anime Hair: Mandrill's hair in Fever grows to twice its length in Hole in One 2 and by Remix 9, it's grown past the screen and a monkey is climbing it.
    • Annoying Arrows: The Sneaky Spirits in the first game can take an arrow up the nose and only get knocked through the door. However, this may be less because of the arrows and more because of the ghost.
    • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Samurai Slice in Fever involves hunting down some evil spirits who scare a little boy and his sister, trash their house... and steal the little boy's pinwheel. In Samurai Slice 2, said spirits go on to steal a stuffed bunny a salaryman bought for his daughter.
    • Audio Erotica: The music in Bossa Nova. Word of God says it was on purpose.
    • Battle in the Rain: Both versions of Samurai Slice in Fever feature this.
    • Big Eater: Munchy Monk. Marshal during Munchy Monk's endless game in Fever.
    • Bilingual Bonus: The counting in Munchy Monk is in Chinese in the Japanese version.
    • Blah Blah Blah: Ring Side in Fever. The girl asks questions of the wrestler and all we hear is "Wubbadubbadubba is that true?". The wrestler is most likely not paying attention to the questions and is yes-ing her to death. Lampshaded in the game's reading material, where this time the reporter is asking him actual questions. He still responds to everything with "Eh". It opens up the possibility that we're hearing what the wrestler hears.
    • Blank White Eyes: The Chorus Kids when they sing.
    • Book Ends: Each game in the series has one remix that includes every stage in the game. The stages that come first in the remix always appear once more for the finale (Space Dance for Tengoku, Karate Man for Heaven, and Packing Pests for Fever).
    • Boss Rush: Remix 7 in Tengoku is a medley of Remixes 1, 2 and 4.
    • Brutal Bonus Level: After getting a Perfect in all of the games in Fever, you'll unlock the Endless Remix. The game itself isn't all that hard (in fact, it's arguably the most fun Endless Game in Fever and quite possibly the whole series); what makes it needlessly difficult at first is that, of the five Endless Games used, three of them aren't seen anywhere else, and they don't bother to tell you how they work. This basically forces you to figure it out on your own (or consult a guide) and keep losing until you get it right.
    • Bullet Time:
      • Sneaky Spirits in the first game: their overdramatic moans are Played for Laughs.
      • There's also a couple parts in Iai Slash where the song slows down, and you cut down one of the bigger monsters.
    • Camera Abuse: At one point, in Exhibition Match, the camera zooms out dramatically. If you manage to hit the pitch properly, the ball goes flying and cracks the "glass".
    • Captain Obvious:
      • Monkey in Hole in One: "It's my friend, Mandrill! (He's a mandrill)."
      • In Cheer Readers, the covers of the books they use simply read "BOOK".
    • Catch Phrase: "And no practice for you!"
    • Cloudcuckooland: Everywhere. It's even weirder when you realize that all of the games and characters are set in the same universe.
    • Co-Op Multiplayer: Fever.
    • Continuity Nod: All over the place. For example, pay attention to the Freeze Frame game in Heaven, and see how many stages/characters from the first game show up.[1] There's more in Heaven than in just that stage, but said stage is practically dripping with them.
      • Continued in Fever, there's a lot of them throughout the game, more so to Heaven, but there are a few to Tengoku. Most noticeably, the Cheer Readers will make pictures of characters from previous games, including the leader of the Space Dancers from Tengoku, and DJ Yellow from Heaven's DJ School.
      • During their break time, Space Dancers tend to play a good game of table tennis. The Cosmo Dancers became space cowboy soccer players!
      • The captain who orders the red and yellow helmeted soldiers in the Marcher game from Tengoku makes a return in Fever to command an expedition team of seals.
    • Cool Shades: Karate Man and the Cheer Readers get these in Remix 7 of Fever.
    • Cool Toy: Muscle Doll in Figure Fighter.
    • Creative Closing Credits:
      • In Heaven, a minigame named Airboarder plays as the credits scroll, which becomes playable later. While it returns in Megamix, it doesn't serve as the credits.
      • Fever likewise has a remake of Night Walk from Tengoku, featuring Marshal as the playable character.
      • In Megamix, the credits appear as you first ascend from the land of Rainbow Towers challenge to the sky. The credits still play if you didn't complete all the remixes required, but you'll stop and fall down at the end.
    • Creator Cameo: Just text "STAFF" on the Police Call toy in Fever.
    • Cute Little Fangs: The Chorus Kids and Marshal all sport some.
    • Deconstructed Trope: Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: the reason that Dog Ninja is cutting vegetables and metal is that he took up the art of the ninja without realizing that ninjitsu isn't a viable career option anymore.
    • Deliberately Monochrome: Remix 8 in Fever, since all the games are being played in old photographs.
    • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Hitting the buttons more than 99 times in Quiz makes your podium explode. Hit it even more and eventually the host's panel and then the Quiz sign will explode.
    • Distaff Counterpart: Rap Women to Rap Men in Tengoku, Hole in One 2 to Hole in One in Fever.
    • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Bossa Nova's vocals in both JP and EN versions is... certainly something. It's made worse in the English version, somehow.
    • A Dog Named "Dog": Most of the characters in the Rhythm Heaven series (particularly in Fever) are known for having generic names, such as Dog, Monkey, Reporter... etc.
    • Dual-Wielding: 'Fever has "2-player mode", in which each person holds their own Wii remote and plays. In order to unlock some of the game's content, you have to get a superb ranking on eight 2-player versions of regular single-player games. If you have no one else to play the game with you, you yourself will most likely end up holding a Wii remote in each hand.
      • In a more literal sense, Dog Ninja uses two katana.
    • Early Installment Weirdness: In Tengoku, there were two mini-games (Quiz and Night Walk) where a single mistake could result in instant failure, rather than being judged on your overall performance at the end. Tengoku also had eight columns of six instead of ten columns of five, and the background music isn't tailored to match up with the gameplay, some games only having looping music following the same general beat.
      • Several of Tengoku's mini-games didn't have a practice at the beginning, which made it even more like Wario Ware.
    • Eenie Meenie Miny Moai: Moai Doo-Wop.
    • Everythings Better With Bunnies: Rabbit Jump in the first game. The alien rabbits from the first Wario Ware make a cameo in each of the three games, as well.
    • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Each game has at least two mini-games with monkeys involved. Or rather, one minigame twice. This is taken Up to Eleven in Fever, where at least four separate games feature monkeys.
    • Everything's Better with Penguins: Show Time in the first game.
    • Everything's Better with Samurai: Iai Slash/Samurai Slice in all three games.
    • Everythings Funkier With Disco: Remix 7 in Fever.
      • Somehow, Love Rap 2.
    • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
      • Several of the games have titles that tell you exactly what they're going to be, in both versions. Examples include Shiro Obake (lit. "White Ghost"), Rap Men, and in the second game, Shoot-Em'-Up and Dog Ninja.
      • This is more apparent when comparing the English and Japanese version of the second game. Built to Scale is simply called Assembly in the Japanese version and Rhythm Rally was Ping Pong.
      • One game in Megamix is just called "Kitties!". No points for guessing what it's about.
    • Fake-Out Fade-Out: At the end of Remix 10 in Fever. Twice.
    • Fake Longevity:
      • This trope comes into play when trying to unlock the bonuses. As the game is played, the player is randomly given a chance to get a perfect on a randomly selected game. If the player fails three times, they must wait for another random chance. Once the player gets gold medals on all 50 games, they have unlimited "perfect" opportunities; however, it still goes to another one after three attempts. Made more annoying by the fact that some games will require you to perform perfectly just to get a Superb, making the Perfect system feel arbitrary at times.
      • In the arcade version of Tengoku, random minigames will start to show "Go for a Perfect!" if you're doing perfect so far partway through. This is to balance out the lack of saving your completion status.
      • The goat-feeding minigame in Megamix reeks of this, as it serves no other purpose than to unlock Cosmetic Awards to go towards 100% Completion, and it takes an excessively large amount of grinding coins to reach the required levels.
    • Fan Boy: The Monkeys in Fan Club.
    • Final Exam Boss: Each game has a Remix that consists of all of the games: Remix 6 in the first game, Remix 10 in the second and third.
    • Foreign Queasine: Skirted with in the first game, which features a stage requiring you to pluck the hairs off of oddly-faced beets. Yes, the same ones that show up later in "Crop Stomp". There's even a lampshade hung on how strange and unappetizing the beets look in one of the Guitar Lessons in the second game.
    • Foreshadowing: Big Rock Finish in Heaven foreshadows three things: the main riff is one of the duets in Rockers, their first song is a preview of Remix 7, and their last song is a salsa mix of the credits music for Fever.
    • Funny Afro: A lot of characters end up having afros, most notably the Clappy Trio in Tengoku.
    • Funny Animal: As mentioned elsewhere on the page, you not only have Dog Ninja and the strange chipmunk-man in Love Lab, but there's also Tram & Poline in the first game, where two acrobatic trampolinists turn back and forth into foxes as they perform. At least, if you get the timing right.
    • Funny Background Event: Odds are you won't notice them due to focusing on what you're hearing, but quite a few minigames in Fever have things going on in the background, and some of them can be amusing. In Double Date, every time a football is kicked up on-time, you can see it fall in the background and get caught. This continues into Double Date 2, where barnyard animals will catch the football in the air.
    • Gainax Ending: See-Saw ends with See and Saw doing an Air Guitar and then exploding without explanation.
    • Game Show: Quiz, which isn't a Pop Quiz despite the name.
    • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Listen to the lyrics of "Tonight", the song from Remix 3 in Fever. It's pretty clear it's about a woman about to have sex for the first time.
    • Gratuitous English:
      • In general, the counting for each game is usually in English even in the Japanese version. "Wan! Tsu! Tree! Fow!"
      • The Japanese version of Cheer Readers from Fever ("Let's everybody go!").
      • The music for Karate Man in Tengoku has this as well, which qualifies for "weirdest lyrics in any Rhythm Heaven game ever".
      • All of the speech in Space Dance, even if the game's vocal language is set to English. In fact, the English version has an entirely new intentionally Engrish voice track. Given Space Gramps speaks in Engrish even in text, it's practically a running gag of the game.
    • Hair Decorations: The statue that you control in Moai Doo-Wop is distinguished by the cute bow on it.
    • Hard Work Montage: During Blue Birds.
    • Hot Scientist: Invoked during Love Lab.
    • Idol Singer: Fan Club.
    • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Though the awesome is a little dampened by the games having painfully obvious names, with Tengoku 's Ninja and Heaven 's Dog Ninja.
    • Interface Screw:
      • Some of the harder games love darkening everything or putting things in your way, forcing you to rely only on your rhythm and your ability to detect audio cues. One of the most notorious examples comes in Samurai Slice in Fever, which blocks the entire freaking screen.
      • Heaven is also notorious for blocking out 95% of the screen at one point in Built to Scale. And this is the very first stage, mind you.
    • Keet: Everyone, but stand-out examples are the Space Dancers in Tengoku, DJ Yellow in Heaven ("Scratch-o, hey!"), , and the Tall Tappers in Fever ("Okay!").
    • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: The Donk-Donk game in Fever is so weird, the English writers don't even try to give it an explanation.
    • Martial Arts and Crafts: The samurai from the first game returns in an Endless Game in Heaven to... slice watermelons. Similarly, there's Dog Ninja, who uses his insane awesome ninja skills to... slice vegetables/other assorted objects. To be fair, he's just doing it for the money.
    • Masked Luchador: Gives an interview in the Ring Side game.
    • Meaningful Name: Baxter and Forthington.
    • Meganekko: One of The Dazzles, the player character in the Bon Dance game, and all of the girls in the Cheer Readers game.
    • Mercy Mode: After failing a certain amount of times in a game, you can ask the Barista to pass it for you. This can be done continuously for every game, excluding a select few.
    • Mission Control: The girl on the Shoot-Em' Up stages.
    • Moon Rabbit: Rabbit Jump again.
    • Mundane Made Awesome:
      • The guiding principle of the game, especially the first game. Whoever thought that writing calligraphy and chopping vegetables could be so cool?
      • The samurai's purpose in life in the Fever version of Samurai Slice is battling demons... to retrieve stolen children's toys. The last demon in the portal is always the one carrying it.
    • Nintendo Hard: Rhythm Heaven is known for being rhythmically strict. There's no "Marvelous", "Great" or "Good" for each beat, you must play it perfectly or you'll just screw it up. It becomes even more suffocating when you have to go for a "Perfect".
    • Non-Standard Character Design: While all of the characters have that "Japanese feeling", most of them are different in artstyle. Compare Munchy Monk with the Wandering Samurai, for example.
    • Nostalgia Level:
      • Karate Man, the first mini-game of Tengoku, makes a reappearance near the end of Heaven and Fever.
      • The Built to Scale game from Heaven has a factory setting much like Polyrhythm from the first game. The Built to Scale game in Fever manages to cram two Nostalgia Levels into one by combining the elements from both aforementioned games.
      • Fever also contains four remastered stages from Tengoku as unlockables, and the Mini Game Credits sequence is a remake of Night Walk, also from Tengoku.
      • The English version, to make up for removing Manzai Birds, remade Mr. Upbeat, an Endless Game from Tengoku.
    • Off-Model:
      • Heaven has a serious problem with proportioning, typically with arm length. For a specific example, in DJ School, watch DJ Yellow's left hand. It goes through at least three different sizes.
      • The baseball player from the Fever game Exhibition Match has a bit of trouble keeping his arms the same thickness. When in his "neutral stance", his arms look fairly normal, but while swinging, they become twigs.
    • Once an Episode:
      • Karate Joe, the Samurai and Widget Factory have playable appearances in each game... though there's no new Built to Scale game in Megamix, so the Fever version returns instead.
      • In every game in the series, the set containing either Remix 6 or Remix 7 will have one stage involving two or more pale-white men in single-color bodysuits doing some synchronized group activity: Cosmic Dance for Tengoku, Space Soccer for Heaven, Tap Troupe for Fever, and Rhythm Rally 2 for Megamix.
      • Except for the first game, each game contains one sequel stage involving farmers: The Dazzles 2 for Heaven, Double Date 2 for Fever, and Second Contact for Megamix.
    • Palette Swap: In each remix, the characters wear different clothes and color palettes just to fit with the theme.
    • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Miss Ribbon and Cam from Fever.
    • Piss-Take Rap: Love Rap. Played for Laughs.
    • The Power of Love: A lot of the games deal with love.
    • Punny Name: Ann Glerr, the fisher from Fever's Catch of the Day.
    • Recycled in Space!:
      • The series loves placing things in space that have no reason to be in space. You get to hit baseballs in space, dance in space, and play soccer in space, among others.
      • One game Rhythm Rally does wind up playing this trope completely straight, as Rhythm Rally 2 is set in space whereas the first is not.
      • Remix 7 in Fever is completely space-themed, as is Remix 6 in Heaven before it.
      • After you get Tibby back to his home, you need to go through the same gameplay in Star Land, Comet Land and Planet Land.
    • Regional Bonus: The EU version has both the Japanese and English soundtracks.
    • Retraux:
      • Starting in Fever, the practice music for each game is usually a stripped-down chiptune version of the game's actual song.
      • The Endless Game Lady Cupid in Fever is a homage to Kid Icarus, down to the graphics.
      • Megamix features a 16-bit styled rhythm game called Super Samurai Slice. The music and sound effects (aside from the demons exploding) are modern though.
      • When you feed the goat in Megamix, it takes the form of a pachinko game that uses chiptune music and pixelated graphics.
    • The Reveal: Played for laughs in the baseball exhibition in Fever. The reason it takes so long for the pitcher's ball to reach the batter from behind the curtain? A monkey catches the ball mid-flight, waits, then tosses it out to the batter.
      • At a certain point in the game Packing Pests, the camera moves, revealing that the employee is Munchy Monk.
      • At the end of Fever, the Barista is revealed to be Dog, who appeared to be just a background character during the first two games.
      • Tap Troupe has the troupe's faces at the bottom and their feet at the top. The end reveals that they're actually extremely tall, thus the reason for the frames.
    • Rhymes on a Dime: Micro-Row.
    • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The rolling seals in Flipper-Flop.
    • Sequel Difficulty Drop: The series has gotten easier over time, Tengoku being the most difficult installment and Megamix being the easiest. This is due to the timing windows gradually getting wider and the grading scale becoming more lenient; what would be an "OK" or even a "Try Again" in Tengoku can be ranked as a "Superb" in Megamix. Also, if you get a "Try Again" score that's close to OK, earlier games would give you words of encouragement, but still fail you, while in Megamix, these words of encouragement will actually boost your score to a passing amount. However, the challenge courses and Ace timing window make Megamix very difficult when it comes to 100% Completion.
    • Shaped Like Itself: See Captain Obvious above.
    • Shout-Out:
    • Stealth Pun: In Tengoku, Remix 7 is Remixes 1 + 2 + 4.
    • Theme Naming: Ao-kun, Aka-chan and Kii-yan of Toss Boys in Tengoku are all named after their respective colors (Blue, Red and Yellow).
    • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: One would think that a couple of hops would be enough to test the safety of any seesaw, yet See and Saw feel the need to repeatedly launch each other several feet into the air to accomplish this task, making one wonder exactly what these seesaws are being used for. The reading material related to that game implies that they might have a motivation besides simple testing.
    • Thick Line Animation: Most notable in Fever.
    • Trademark Favorite Food: Munchy Monk's eggs/dumplings.
    • Umbrella of Togetherness: The logo for Love Lab in the Japanese version.
    • Verbal Tic:
      • The singer in Fan Club has one, I suppose. And it's wonderful!
      • The captain of the Blue Birds has one too, waaugh!
    • Visual Pun: In Fever, a minigame involves Shrimp hopping about to the beat in front of the sea, while a voice counts "1-2-3, A-B-C!". In Japan, shrimp are called "ebi" (pronounced similar to "A B"), making this the Ebi Sea.
    • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: Remix 2 in Fever. The first one was relatively simple to get you used to the "No practice for you" aspect of remixes. This one hits you with Monkey Watch straight off the mark. And it's short, so there's only a couple of mistakes between "OK" and "Try again".
    • Where It All Began: Starting with Heaven, the last original minigame in each installment is a variant on Karate Man, the very first game in the series (as well as the first game played, in Megamix's case). The last Remixes in both Tengoku and Heaven end with Karate Man, as well.
    • Widget Series: The whole series: would you expect anything less from the creators of Wario Ware? The weirdness gets plenty of Lampshade Hanging by the English writers, especially in Fever.

    Think you've got what it takes to tap-dance with the monkeys? (Has anyone ever written that sentence before?)

    • A Winner Is You: Winning the game is satisfactory, and getting medals unlocks stuff, but getting 1st place in the Battle in the Bands doesn't even unlock any music.
    • A Worldwide Punomenon: Tram and Poline and Fork Lifter.
    • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The female Love Lab professor has green hair, and various other characters have pink hair.


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    1. For the record: the white and black ninjas from Ninja, the white mouse from Stealth Mice, and the ghosts from Sneaky Spirits sometimes show up in photographs, and at one point, you can see the Rap Men, the Clappy Trio, the Space Dancers, and the monkeys from Tap Trial watching the race.