There are times when going against the flow is the way to stand out. The minds behind WarioWare are no strangers to bizarre concepts, going on to create the Rhythm Paradise series. It has achieved a lot in its short tenure stretching back only as far as the Gameboy Advance in Japan and the DS elsewhere. As a way of bridging that international gap, Rhythm Paradise Megamix presents a collection of old and new games on Nintendo’s handheld, serving as a starting point for newcomers or a highlights reel for fans.
Other entries in the series would drop you into the games straight away, but this one has a plot where a denizen of Rhythm Heaven by the name of Tibby falls out of the sky. It’s up to you to help him get back to where he came from. The disalogue is well written for the most part and well aware of itself, while children in particular will appreciate the light hearted story. Yet it all seems like unnecessary framing to a collection of rhythm based mini-games.
Those are made up of a mix between basic doodles and, at most, some vivid polygons. They barely push the 3DS to any levels of strain, but they get the job done at the very least. Of course, the game’s focus is more in the audio department and this is where it excels as it’s not only important to the quality of the collection, but also fundamental to playing the game.
Simplicity of understanding has always been Rhythm Paradises’ raison d’etre. Each minigame will use certain button presses that need to be timed to the music, with a rating at the end to say how well you did. Occasionally this is somewhat harsh, with one small mistake being the difference between a “Superb” rating and “OK”, or even the more lenient line between passing and failing.
Rhythm Paradise Megamix does it’s job as a highlight reel of the series, but certain games aren’t as fondly remembered as others. Some that debuted in the Japan-only Rhythm Tengoku are primitive in nature compared to those lifted from later games. There are others that have been suitably touched up and remastered for the 3DS, some with new tutorials to help you grasp the basics.
With a handful of brand new games as well as remixes of older games, this is quite the collection! If there is one drawback for the amount of content, it’s the tutorials. Most of the time they are quite welcome, but for repeated plays the game will default to repeating the tutorial unless you remember to press the button to skip them. It’s a minor point, as you can always skip past a lessons, but there are more elegant ways of delivering a tutorial, especially when most mini-games are variations on pressing A in time with the beat, dressed up in a variety of different ways.
The games come thick and fast as Tibby journeys to a green tower off in the distance, but they’re occasionally interrupted by three cultists challenging you to mini games for a potentially quite substantial fee. These are definitely the worst of the bunch and nowhere near as fun to play as the rest of the package. Should you run out of coins, you will also need to go back to previously cleared games to gather more funds. It’s needlessly tedious busywork that just doesn’t fit.
It was at this point that I feared for my favourite parts of the Rhythm Paradise series: The Remixes. I need not have worried as they do return in full force, blending the many games into one track and switching between them on the fly. For me, this has always been when the series shifts into gear and it’s just as fun here.
Other than the main quest, there is also a Challenge mode that can be played with others as well as solo ventures that cost coins to enter. The collections can randomly have conditions you must meet, such as clearing with a certain approval rating or getting as many perfect timed presses as possible to avoid being eaten. With three sets to play through, there is a surprising amount to play in what easily could have been a throwaway mode.
There are also smaller side attractions such as a shop to buy new collectibles with coins and mini games with flow balls obtained from the Challenge mode. You can also feed a goat turnips and use Streetpass to play a variant on one of the main mini-games. It’s certainly something for the completionists out there.
It’s certainly not for the rhythmically challenged, but the games found within Rhythm Paradise Megamix are crazy enough to warrant a look. Crammed full of charm, it serves as an anthology of the franchise so far and a glimpse of its future. Some bits however don’t work, whether they affect the pacing or just don’t fit contextually. It’s worth a punt if you have a passing interest, but not exactly essential.