“Cute” and “Nintendo” have always gone hand in hand. But when does cute become boring? Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise quickly answers that question. While it may look just like other classic Nintendo games, WarioWare Smooth Moves for example, all it delivers is a repetitive theme.
The mission is simple: press A, or A and B together on the Wii Remote in time to the beat. The seemingly simple task can actually prove to be challenging and players will be told when they are performing poorly and made to repeat until perfected, or at least until they scrape in for a bare minimum standard. Hitting the mark and clicking at the precise time is rewarded, but there appears to be no penalty for clicking when not required other than the possibility of throwing one’s rhythm totally out of whack and subsequently fluffing further hits.
For perfectionists who persist with Beat the Beat, there are over 50 levels, complete with level variations and targets to conquer, should the monotony not wear them down. Each has an individual flair, but that doesn’t really detract from the fact that players are really being tasked with performing the same actions over and over again. Instructions for each level are not always clear and some will often require multiple attempts to decipher what is actually required to be successful. To be told that a button must be pressed after hearing an “ooh chee” (or sounds to that effect) doesn’t work entirely well when monkeys are those ones emitting the instructive sounds. People who could decipher exactly what Flipper the dolphin said in his TV series will be the only ones to conquer that level first time around.
Following the tradition of other similar Wii games, the cutesy, Japanese-style animation is in keeping with a game of such simplicity. Clock monkeys, office pigs, dating gophers, golfing mandrills, and more all appear on screen over the course of this game. As always it’s the unique animation of each that can bring a smile to players’ faces. For example, balls kicked away are randomly caught by a variety of things in the background, such as American Football players and dogs.
The music that accompanies each level varies greatly, and each aligns itself with the difficulty of the stage. Don’t expect a continuously ‘poppy’ soundtrack, but even variety can’t keep things fresh when players must hear a track on repeat until a level is cleared. While similar rhythm games are usually best experienced in a social context, there is simply no possible way that Beat the Beat could be played at a party, or even in a room non-participants, as concentrating on the beat is paramount and any distractions will certainly hamper one’s chances of advancing to higher levels.
Using only two buttons on a controller that was designed to do a lot more is a terrible, terrible travesty. Swinging, drumming, tennis serving, or almost any other motion may well have elevated Beat the Beat and made it extremely interactive, but, alas, no. Indeed, the simplicity of the controls pegs this game as a title that could have done particularly well on handheld consoles or a mobile platform.
Such games appear to enjoy a peculiar kind of popularity in Japan, but its reception outside of that country is likely to be very mixed. Given the game’s simplicity, one can rightly wonder why this title carries a recommended retail price typical of a game stamped with the Nintendo brand. Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise makes one thing glaringly obvious: it’s time for the Wii U.