Rhythm Heaven Megamix Review: Bringing Back The Flow

Credit: Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo /

Fans watching Nintendo’s E3 2016 Treehouse were treated to a surprise immediate release of Rhythm Heaven Megamix. Does this latest installment keep the excellence of prior games in the series flowing?

Developer: Nintendo SPD

Publisher: Nintendo

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS

Release Date: June 15th, 2016

If you were patient enough to sit through the entirety of Nintendo’s Treehouse Live Day 2 for E3 2016 (or lucky enough to tune in at the right moment), you witnessed the surprise immediate release of Rhythm Heaven Megamix in North America. The game has been out for over a year in Japan, so its sudden appearance in the West was welcome for those who love the rhythm game series or who lamented having to wait for most of Nintendo’s other E3 showings.

The stealthy release seemed suspicious, though, in the midst of a Nintendo game drought. Aside from a handful of levels shown during the Treehouse, Rhythm Heaven Megamix received little love from Nintendo regarding promotion. This led me to assume that the title would be weak and not worth my attention. But I’m happy to say that my assumptions were proven very, very wrong.

rhythm heaven megamix
Credit: Nintendo /

Rhythm Heaven Megamix is the first Rhythm Heaven title to feature a story. In it, you guide a strange, pink, bear-like creature named Tibby through a series of themed levels as he tries to return home to “Hevven World” and restore the “flow” to various themed areas. It’s a fluff story that promises from the opening not to take itself too seriously, so the lack of any depth shouldn’t be troubling. The characters are cute, the jokes provide a few chuckles, and it’s a serviceable frame for what would otherwise just be a long list of minigames.

Each level contains four rhythm games that must be completed to a rating of “OK” or better to proceed, though you’re allowed to skip levels if you fail too much. Later stages include more difficult versions of already-cleared games, and end with special “Remixes,” which are themed mash-ups of the four previous games in the level.

The games themselves use combinations of A, B, and directional pad button presses (or the touch screen) to respond to rhythmic, auditory, and visual cues along with the music. Games include everything from interviewing a wrestler to plucking hairs off an onion to eating dumplings really fast. Some games will attempt to distract you with irrelevant (but interesting) visuals or sounds, adding further challenge. The bottom screen lets you know how well you timed your press by a starburst indicator to the left (too early), to the right (too late), or right on (center, and in rainbow colors). Red and a sound effect indicate a miss.

Whether you’re just in it to finish all the games, or to polish your rhythm to perfection, Rhythm Heaven Megamix has plenty of content to keep you busy.

Your final score and subsequent pass/fail for the level is based on how well you did throughout. The better your timings and the fewer your misses, the more coins you’ll net from the level. Coins are mostly superfluous, though they are necessary to pass certain in-game roadblocks and can be used to purchase collectible memorabilia from each rhythm game. Each game also includes a Skill Star, obtained by perfectly executing one of the stage’s more difficult timings. Skill Stars net you extra coins, but there’s no other benefit to collecting them beyond bragging rights.

Most early games are easily passable on the first try, with Superb or better rankings a gimme on subsequent attempts. As the game progresses, so too does the difficulty, and later games may prove a greater challenge. Practice rounds before most games complete with a helpful visual as to where the button presses land on the beat aid those whose sense of rhythm may be lacking. And while games like Lockstep may be frustrating to completionists, those who just want to finish the game will never get stuck–a friendly barista dog will let you skip games you just can’t seem to master.

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All told, there are over 100 stages in Rhythm Heaven Megamix. Most of them (around 70) are from previous Rhythm Heaven titles, though some have had their controls, visuals, or songs tweaked for improvement. The rest are brand new. If you’ve played Rhythm Heaven games before, you may be disappointed at the lack of novelty. As a newcomer, 100+ games was more than enough, but I can see series veterans becoming frustrated repeating games they’ve already perfected.

rhythm heaven megamix
Credit: Nintendo /

Fortunately, there’s more to do. Perfect Campaigns unlock about halfway through the game, allowing the player to attempt to clear specific stages without a single mistake. A Challenge Train lets four players compete in certain stages together via Download Play, and a StreetPass function is available if you manage to catch someone nearby playing Rhythm Heaven Megamix, too. Whether you’re just in it to finish all the games or to polish your rhythm to perfection, Rhythm Heaven Megamix has plenty of content to keep you busy.

8.5. Rhythm Heaven Megamix is a light-hearted, enjoyable diversion for anyone, even those new to the rhythm game genre. Though there aren’t a ton of new games, this collection of “greatest hits” has plenty to do, including added challenges and multiplayer features. With a goofy cast of characters and a unique but appealing aesthetic, Rhythm Heaven Megamix is sure to bring a smile as you keep your fingers tapping.. Nintendo SPD. . Rhythm Heaven Megamix

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.