Release Date: July 6 (Europe) February 13 (North America)
Platforms available on: Wii
Developer: Nintendo SPD Group No.1
Genre: Rhythm Action
Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise could turn out to be one of the Wii's final numbers, so it's fitting that it should come in the form of a mini-game collection, the genre that perhaps best defines the system. It's also one of the better mini-game compilations on the platform, combining an excellent soundtrack with games that, while simplistic, are surprisingly difficult, utterly addictive and absolutely bonkers.
After a brief, challenging and slightly demoralising rhythm test, Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise begins in earnest with a hole-in-one challenge against a mandrill and a chimp. As odd as this sounds, it's no more strange than any of the other 49 games on the collection. During the course of Beat the Beat's single-player mode, players will test see-saws, play a spot of mid-air badminton, discuss business strategies with a number of suited and booted bulldogs, and interview a masked pro-wrestler with a penchant for posing.
Considering the fact that it only uses two buttons and no motion controls, Beat the Beat's formidable challenge is a little surprising. Many of the games use the A-button exclusively, but some introduce the B-button, whether it's to screw heads on robots, or to play the tambourine in a game of monkey see, monkey do. The Nintendo Wii has always been billed as a console for all-comers, regardless of age and experience, something perfectly captured by Beat the Beat's control scheme, but not its challenge.
Perseverance is rewarded not only with new mini-games, which are unlocked one at a time, but also with bonus rhythm toys, endless games, soundtrack songs and remix stages, the latter of which pose the greatest challenge of all. The remix stages are Beat the Beat's equivalent of the boss fight, combining a handful of mini-games in one, switching between activities swiftly and seamlessly. While they may be challenging, remixes are enormously satisfying, but we could have done with more.
With a game as kooky and colourful as Beat the Beat, it's easy to overlook the significance of the soundtrack. Monkeys, samurai warriors and wrestlers notwithstanding, the game's melodies are just as memorable as the mini-games they accompany. The Beat the Beat development team has really put on a musical masterclass, stringing together a collection of songs that will live long in the memory.
It's fortunate too, because unlocking the soundtrack requires perfecting mini-games in just three attempts, something that proves far from easy. The game's only advice is to relax and have fun, something that's near impossible with such a limited window of success. You can relieve stress by playing with toys, including a wind up car which must be unleashed with military precision to the accompanying beat. It's very addictive.
The game's multiplayer mode is also surprisingly lacklustre, especially considering how well most of the games would have worked as competitive or co-operative challenges. Instead, there are only a handful of multiplayer options, all of which are variations of single-player games, such as the back-to-back karate challenge. They're still enormously fun, but it feels like a wasted opportunity to increase the game's lifespan past collecting medals, toys and songs.
Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise is one of the best mini-game compilations on the Wii, which is quite remarkable considering the competition. The bizarre activities, wonderful soundtrack and accessible gameplay will keep players tapping that A-button to the game's end and their feet far beyond. Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise may signal the end for the Nintendo Wii, but with a send off like this, here's hoping for a next-generation encore.