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Rhythm Tengoku

It's got music, it's got rhythm - but we'd ask for a little bit more

The WarioWare team's back! But there's no room for all that silliness with the slapstick lardbucket this time around. Instead, you get a troupe of tapdancing monkeys, a rabbit bouncing off the nose of an upturned killer whale, and a baseball player trapped in a three-walled room floating through space who inexplicably swaps his head for a badly-drawn bunny mask.

So, yes, Rhythm Heaven, like WarioWare, is a hoot. It's also, like WarioWare, irresistibly simple. The 60 or so games last about a minute each, and they're all rhythm-based. So you're pressing the A Button in time with music to detonate fireworks, throw a beach ball at a penguin, or - you've guessed it! - pluck the hairs out of a frowning onion's chin.


It works. Brilliantly. Partly because it's drenched in the WarioWare team's sense of humour - cue tapdancing monkeys. But also because the music is (mostly) superb. There's some kind of deal between Nintendo and Japanese music label JRoom that's cursed at least one game to an appalling axe-chugging Jap-pop soundtrack. But otherwise it's joyous, bouncy, sparkly stuff that's carefully composed so that every button press is accompanied by a bass thud or snare crash. Nailing each game is fantastically satisfying.

But it's short. Surprisingly, Rhythm Tengoku doesn't ramp up the speed like WarioWare - each game's tempo is fixed forever. So even your favourite games aren't really worth going back to. There's a handful of 'mini' minigames - eg a rhythmic horse race - but this is pretty anaemic for a team that usually showers us with hundreds upon hundreds of goodies.

It's still a must-play, though. You'll smile like you've just seen three bears in afro wigs clapping in time to music. Which, of course, you have.

The verdict

The WarioWare team prove they're still marching to the beat of a different drum, and good on 'em. But this can't match WW for that sense of allout rib-tickling chaos.

Game Boy Advance
Rhythm Action