Published on November 2nd, 2016 | by Nathan Misa
Rhythm Paradise Megamix Review
Summary: A fantastic pick-up-and-play 3DS game a diverse and funky soundtrack, tons of unlockable content and perfect for party play with friends.
Rhythm in your pocket
Rhythm Paradise Megamix is the fourth game in one Nintendo’s most underrated first-party franchises, oozing charm and eccentricity with its bizarre art direction and addictive rhythm-based gameplay. Acting as a throwback mixtape compiling past Rhythm Heaven mini-games and tracks, the new and remixed content on offer is equally as melodious, quirky and wacky fun all packaged in a 3DS cartridge and perfect for on-the-go gaming – or for multiplayer hijinks with friends and family at home.
Rhythm Paradise Megamix’s gameplay premise is simple: Progress through a series of rhythm-based mini-games by playing along in time with the beat and clear the stage. Every mini-game has a unique musical track, and your precision and performance is rated a score out of 100. A minimum of 60 is required to pass on to the next stage and 80 or above is needed to obtain other bonuses like coins and skill stars. These bonuses are currencies used to unlock additional mini-game challenges, tracks and other goodies in the Cafe, a hub world where players can cool off in-between sessions and also access additional game modes and multiplayer.
In Megamix, the story mode is a loose narrative connecting several different Rhythm Heaven games together in an adventure involving Tibby, a funky peached-coloured bear with a slick afro. Tibby needs help reaching his home in Heaven World. Along the way you’ll meet various quirky characters like Boondog (a pun-tacular dog dressed as a bee), Donna (an amorous donut-shaped woman) and Trey (a disturbingly humanoid chef) who guide Tibby through seven various themed worlds and three special challenge gateways on the path to Heaven World. All worlds have their own completely unpredictable rhythm challenges tied to ridiculous but humorous problems faced by each character. It’s all very casual and humorous, so don’t expect a serious story here; gameplay is first and foremost, and Megamix has it in spades.
The unforeseeable and zany nature of each rhythm game is part of Megamix’s charm. The gameplay is easy to pick-up and learn, thanks to the speed of each stage and its simplicity; songs are fast and frantic, but players can focus on keeping up rather than memorising complex inputs, thanks to only one or two buttons (and sometimes the D-Pad) needed to play along and stay with the beat. You can also use the Nintendo 3DS’s stylus, though the classic controls were most ideal for me. This also helped me enjoy watching the crazy scenarios happening on-screen; you’ll be staying in-tune to a dog and cat playing badminton while flying; dancing feline lumberjacks chopping wood; rapid-fire tweezers plucking the facial hair of living vegetables, and many more surreal scenarios only the folks at Nintendo SPD could think of.
Each and every rhythm mini-game has a tutorial practice session where you learn the ropes before diving in, helping players find their flow and work out the timing of each track. The visual elements and cues are helpful, but the game encourages players to use their ears and listen carefully to audio cues to catch the beat. Later mini-games with higher difficulty levels expect you to master timing to a greater degree. I found the gradual progression from simpler mini-games like Fruit Basket and LumBEARjack to be well-paced, and it was always fun to return later to beat my high score and unlock additional coins and skill stars, the latter of which is awarded with 100% perfect timing in a particular part of every mini-game.
There’s many more hilariously random scenarios with amazing artstyles and personality not just limited to story mode; Challenge Land offers harder mini-games with modified difficulty and remixed tempos, Endless Games lets you enjoy past Rhythm Heaven entries, while Challenge Train multiplayer pits you up against up to 3 other players to obtain the highest scores and unlock Flow Balls, currency for the shop in the aforementioned Cafe hub world. There’s also StreetPass Terrace, where you can play other passerbys in addictively funky robot battles.
Rhythm Paradise Megamix’s soundtrack is the real deal. It has a total of 10 new remixed tracks, 14 newly created just for Megamix, and 57 from Rhythm Heaven titles on DS, Gameboy Advance and the Nintendo Wii. Those aware of the Japan-only release on the GBA will appreciate the previously exclusive tracks made available in the PAL Megamix release – a true treat for long-time fans in the West. All of them are a delight to listen to, ranging from futuristic electro pop to more surreal animal-barks and claps and J-Pop fare. Combined with the colourful and crazy artstyle and witty dialogue, and the overall package reeks of style only Nintendo seems to be able to pull off.
The pick-up-and-play nature of Rhythm Paradise Megamix always encouraged me to return for more and beat my previous record, and this is a key strength of its winning formula and why its replay value is so high. The multiplayer is extremely fun and easy to set up with just one copy of the game needed, and with tons of unlockables and throwbacks to older Rhythm Heaven entries, this is a 2016 Nintendo 3DS title which shouldn’t be missed by those who love the weird and quirky of Nintendo’s solid output.
Primary Format – Games – Nintendo 3DS
Game Genre – Music
Rating – G
Consumer Advice – Very mild violence, online interactivity