Posted by Andrew Hayward February 20, 2012

Released last week for Wii in North America, Rhythm Heaven Fever hearkens back to a time when music-oriented games more often featured original soundtracks, characters, and scenarios, rather than accessories and licensed hits. Much as I also love those types of rhythm experiences, I've always longed to see more bright and creative music-based titles that can stand alongside beloved favorites like Gitaroo-Man!! and PaRappa the Rapper.

But while it's a comfortable fit alongside those older classics, Rhythm Heaven Fever is very much its own thing. Rather than tap out beats in tune with a traditional song, the experience takes the form of numerous mini-games, wherein your seemingly mundane actions -- like swinging a golf club or kicking incoming balls that threaten to disrupt your date -- generate the pulse of the song.

It's hard to resist humming along to each unexpectedly catchy tune, and the oddball, hand-drawn animations really strike a charming chord. While the games can prove rather challenging at times, the dead simple one-handed approach means nearly anyone can jump in and play, plus you don't have to put down your drink to do so! More than 50 mini-games and multi-game remix tracks are included, plus some games support two players.

Fever is the third series entry, following 2009's Rhythm Heaven for Nintendo DS and the Japan-exclusive original Game Boy Advance title, and while the previous release wasn't a huge hit here, it's encouraging to see Nintendo support the series -- especially as the Wii release schedule tapers off in anticipation of this fall's Wii U system debut. Rhythm Heaven Fever is available now on Wii at a lower-than-usual price of $29.99.


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