Rhythm Heaven: The Best Plus!

2015 looks to be a banner year for rhythm games. For years, the plastic clickity-clacks of guitar controllers filled the living rooms of gamers around the world. But with the oversaturation of Activision’s Guitar Hero franchise (later, Band Hero), and Harmonix’s juggernaut full band experience Rock Band, it was only natural that the hype eventually died down. With E3 just around the corner, we’ve already been teased with bits of info on Guitar Hero Live and Rock Band 4, titles which promise a return to glory for living room rock legends. But I’m more excited about another upcoming music game.

In between the games that sought to deliver “authentic” rock experiences there were bizarre offshoot games, often one-offs, that amped up both the fun and the absurdity. Among them was Rhythm Heaven, a quirky Nintendo DS game that had players tap and slide the stylus on the touchscreen to the beat of the music, all whilst being treated to funny, often nonsensical visuals on the top screen. Hitting North America in 2009, its unique approach to the rhythm game genre was as refreshing as it was welcome. Rhythm Heaven Fever was released for the Wii in early 2012, and while it did well to capture a similar feel as its predecessor, the move from handheld/touchscreen to Wii Remote/television caused a bit of a disconnect and a bit of an emotional distancing between me and the game. This is a franchise that is best experienced on a personal level, on a handheld, which is why I’m excited about Rhythm Tengoku The Best + for the Nintendo 3DS.

Granted, this video doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I don’t know Japanese. But I do know this is absolutely awesome. Anyone who’s played a Rhythm Heaven game will recognize a few of the visuals here. If you have never played a Rhythm Heaven game, you’re in for a treat. There’s no word yet on whether or not Rhythm Tengoku The Best + will be localized for North America, but I have my money in-hand already and I’m throwing it at my screen.

Hopefully that helps.

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