While not Heaven, music game fans will enjoy the Rhythm.
For whatever reason, Nintendo didn't bring Rhythm Tengoku to the U.S. When the Game Boy Advance title arrived in Japan a few years ago, it was a colossal hit, as players got into its rhythmic mini games. Fortunately, the company didn't let opportunity slip away twice, as it gives the Tengoku sequel its due with Rhythm Heaven.
Probably the best thing going for Heaven is the same thing that worked so well for the original Tengoku, and that's the 50 mini-games. One minute, you're tapping ping pong balls back and forth, and the next, you're slicing things up with a canine ninja.
In the game, you complete four challenges before moving on to a special Remix stage. Once you beat so many stages, you gain access to other activities, including a few "director's cut" choices that didn't make it into the main game but deserved inclusion. Players will obviously favor some stages over others. Picking plants out of a garden, for example, is more fun than eating a barrage of gumballs. (It is to us, at least.)
Gameplay is simple. You turn your DS system sideways to play. The main action takes place on the top screen, while you poke and slash your stylus to the beat on the bottom one. It's not as complicated as other music/rhythm games on the market (like the Guitar Hero series), but its user friendly design should make it a big hit with the younger crowd and casual gamers.
With presentation, TNX hasn't strayed far from its Tengoku formula. The mini-games feature cute little animations full of personality. It's fun watching adorable ghosts jam on guitars and tiki heads sing while birds fly around.
If you have trouble getting into Rhythm Heaven at first, don't fret. There's a tutorial that introduces you to the basics and lets you roll from there. Along with the extra unlockable activities, Heaven also features medals to earn, where you can work on perfecting your skills. Good luck trying to achieve the Perfect ones, however. These stages are quite difficult.
Additional mini games and rewards would've made Rhythm Heaven live up to its name. As it stands, however, it's a quirky, entertaining romp that deserves at least one playthrough.
What's Hot: Fifty imaginative mini-games, delightful graphics, most of the in-game tunes are worth a listen.
What's Not: Some of the mini-games and tunes are average at best, some medals are incredibly hard to get.