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File:Rhythm-heaven-01 9050.jpg

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:
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: 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.
  • 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.
  • All There in the Manual: Winning the gifts will give you background on the various characters.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Fever has pigs as businessmen.
  • 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.
    • Remix 6 in Fever.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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!"
  • Creative Closing Credits: In Heaven a minigame named "Airboarder" plays as the credits scroll. It becomes playable later.
    • Same with Fever, but this one is a remake of Night Walk from Tengoku, featuring Marshal as the playable character.
    • Notable in that both appear in their respective game's Final Exam Boss, so you'd better have tried them at least once.
  • Continuity Nod / Shout-Out: 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".
      • Also, if you play Munchy Monk in Fever and look carefully on the window while playing, you'll notice a bunch of characters from Heaven pass by the train such as the scientists from Love Lab and the Blue Birds.
    • 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".
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Fever.
  • Creator Cameo: Just text "STAFF" on the Police Call toy in Fever.
  • Cute Little Fangs: The Chorus Kids and Marshal all sport some.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Everywhere. It's even weirder when you realize that all of the games and characters are set in the same universe.
  • 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.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Rap Women to Rap Men in the first game.
    • Hole in One 2 to Hole in One in the third game.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • Presumably done to avert a different form of fake longetivity, which would consist of the player playing the same game hundreds of times in a row, attempting to perfect it. This at least makes the player try different games.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: At the end of Remix 10 in Fever. Twice.
  • 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 and 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: "Seesaw" 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: After helping two lizards sing their mating call, the game comments that they came together in the end.
    • In Love Lab, the two scientists are literally "making love".
    • Meanwhile, Fever has "Bossa Nova", and its sounds that sound like noises that would be made in bed.
      • 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: The Japanese version of "Cheer Readers" from Fever. "Let's everybody go!"
    • The music for "Karate Man" in the GBA version has this as well. It also qualifies for "weirdest lyrics in any Rhythm Heaven game ever".
  • 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".
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Daisy has become a sports reporter, apparently.
  • Hot Scientist: Invoked during "Love Lab".
  • Hundred-Percent Completion: Good luck getting a Perfect on every game!
  • 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: DJ Yellow. Scratch-o, hey!
    • The Tall Tappers in Fever.
    • Who can forget the Space Dancers in Tengoku, as well as the farmer in Crop Stomp in Heaven?
  • Life Imitates Art: Tsunku works for Hello Project. Obviously, the [Japanese] game uses real Idol Singers for the vocals. Obviously, the audience was going to perform the call-and-response sections perfectly when a live concert happened to play "Thrilling! Is This Love?"
    • Downplayed in the fact that the song sung at that live concert was the extended/full version used in the 2nd version of the minigame, but the audience didn't all do the extra call-and-response sections added in the 2nd minigame (probably because there are no lyrical cues for it). You can still hear some people doing it faintly in the background, though.
  • 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.
  • Masked Luchador: Gives an interview in the "Ring Side" game.
  • Meaningful Name: Baxter and Forthington.
  • Meganekko: One of The Dazzles
    • All of the girls in the "Cheer Readers" game.
    • The player character in the "Bon*Odori" 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".
  • No Export for You: For the first game.
    • "Manzai Birds" in Japan was replaced with "Mr. Upbeat", a Nostalgia Level from Tengoku, everywhere else.
  • 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 Man, the Samurai, and Widget Factory have playable appearances in each game.
    • Each game also features a mini-game based on the concept of lockstep, though each game deals with it differently.
  • Palette Swap: In each remix, the characters wear different clothes and color palettes just to fit with the theme.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: The first game's Rap Men and Rap Women mini-games have appropriately-colored backgrounds.
    • Cam and Miss Ribbon.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Love Rap. Played for Laughs.
  • Punny Name: Ann Glerr, the fisher from Fever's "Catch of the Day".
  • The Power of Love: A lot of the games deal with love.
  • 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.
  • Regional Bonus: The EU version has both the Japanese and English soundtracks.
  • Retraux: Lady Cupid in Fever.
    • Furthermore, when doing practice in Fever, your background practice music tends to be a chiptune stripped down version of the game's actual music.
  • 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.
      • Actually, the barista casually mentions the fact that he's a dog at one point in Tengoku, and stamps every game with a dog-wearing-headphones stamp throughout.
    • 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 First
  • Shaped Like Itself: See Captain Obvious.
  • Shout-Out: Heaven makes plenty of references back to Tengoku, Wario Ware, Nintendo's GBA-slot based MP 3 player; and even the rarely heard of Play-Yan (the guy from the Night Walk stage is the character from the menu navigation for the Play-Yan's interface).
    • Fever has a Mr. Game and Watch cameo in "Working Dough", and one of the baseball players in "Exhibition Match" looks remarkably like something Shigeru Miyamoto had drawn in the '80s.
      • The 2P Endless Game Kung Fu Ball stars Young Cricket as Player 1.
    • The Fever endless game "Lady Cupid" it all of its 8-bit glory is likely to be a shout out to Pit.
  • Stealth Pun: In Tengoku, Remix 7 is Remixes 1 + 2 + 4.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Munchy Monk's eggs/dumplings.
  • Thick Line Animation: Most notable in Fever.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: The logo for Love Lab in the Japanese version.
  • Verbal Tic: The singer in Fan Club has one, I suppose.
  • 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: The last remix in both Tengoku and Heaven end with the very first minigame in the series, Karate Man.
    • Karate Man is the final non-remix minigame in Fever.
  • Widget Series: The first game is actually much weirder than the second.
    • The weirdness gets plenty of Lampshade Hanging by the English writers, especially in Fever.

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Notes

  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
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